Tech

Female avatar sexually assaulted in Meta VR platform, campaigners say

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Posted: 26/05/22 - 08:35
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Campaigners say the avatar of a 21-year-old researcher was sexually assaulted in Meta's virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds.

Corporate accountability group SumOfUs, for whom the researcher works, says it shows Meta needs better plans to mitigate harms in the metaverse.

Meta's annual shareholder meeting takes place on Wednesday.

The company told the BBC there were safety tools in Horizon Worlds to help people have a "positive experience".

Noting that Meta had not yet seen the full SumOfUs report, a spokesperson told the BBC the firm wanted everyone in Horizon Worlds to access the safety procedures "and help us investigate and take action".

Horizon Worlds is currently only available to users in the US and Canada. Avatars in the platform have a simplified, cartoonish appearance.

SumOfUs says that virtual assaults can be intensely traumatic.

"It still counts, it still has a real impact on users," the group's campaigns director Vicky Wyatt told the BBC Tech Tent podcast.

I Call Bull: Stay with me for my BULL call explanation before voting ............. The headline is undoubtably TRUE of that i've very little doubt at all but i'm calling BULL on the Meta VR platform, they are clearly rushing ahead with it and aren't putting any/or enough safety platforms in place to stop this sort of thing happening, LCB previously reported on other issues within the Meta VR usage (link in comments) so Meta clearly need to work on protecting their users a LOT more.
Hope the bull call for a true story now makes sense.

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4 Comments
37 days
2 upvotes
There has to be protection from this type of stuff and in the VR world this should be simpler, ala PvP combat in most modern MMORPGs.
On MDMs other point, parents need to take much more interest in what their kids are doing to protect them from this stuff.
37 days
1 upvotes
Another day another Meta bad news story, seems like people are scared of the Metaverse and looking for ways to make it a 'big evil' IMO rather than understanding the upside of it
37 days
1 upvotes
It's like the wild west out there and although this sounds like some sort of sensationalist BULL I agree with MDM's call of BULL on Meta as well for letting this happen, a simple 2m 'shield' around your character as an option would be simple to put in place to stop this happening
37 days
2 upvotes
I mean if kids (or anyone for that matter) can get threatened with rape then surely there needs to be action taken - https://www.letscallbull.com/story/metaverse-app-allows-kids-into-virtual-strip-clubs-32631