The young woman used the platform for about an hour, but she recounted how her avatar was “sexually assaulted,” which she described as a “disorienting and confusing experience.”
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
A woman was ‘virtually raped’ by a stranger in a virtual world created by the Metaverse app.
The 21-year-old researcher was sent into the digital environment SumOfUsaimed at curbing corporate power
She used the platform for about an hour but reported how her avatar was “sexually assaulted,” which she described as a “disorienting and confusing experience.”
The unnamed woman said: “It happened so quickly that I kind of distanced myself.
“Part of my brain felt like WTF was happening, part like this wasn’t a real body, and part like this was important research.”
A meta-speaker pointed out that the researcher had a “Personal Boundary” feature that prevents non-friends from getting near your avatar.
The spokesperson said, “In Horizon Worlds, the personal limit for non-friends is set to almost 4 feet by default to make it easier to avoid unwanted interactions.”
“We don’t recommend turning security off on people you don’t know.”
Horizon Worlds allows users to gather, play games and build their own virtual worlds.
It is Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition to create a “Metaverse” or virtual shared space with avatars representing real people.
SumOfUs published details of what happened to a researcher in the Metaverse report: another cesspool of toxic content when she tested the app with an Oculus headset.
She had a female-appearing and female-sounding avatar, but within an hour she was sexually assaulted, the report said.
The app’s “Personal Boundary” setting is on by default, but the young woman chose to turn it off after being persuaded by another user.
The report states: “A SumOfUs researcher was ushered into a private room at a party where she was raped by a user who kept telling her to turn around so he could do it from behind while user outside the window – while another user in the room watched and passed around a bottle of vodka.”
Other avatars were able to “virtually touch” the woman’s avatar, causing her hand controls to vibrate, “creating a very disorienting and even disturbing physical experience.”
The campaign group also reported: “Users have reported seeing graphic content and observing hate speech that is discriminatory, homophobic, racist and sexual in nature.
“This behavior harms people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women and children and makes these spaces dangerous and inaccessible.
“Researchers have also noted the metaverse’s propensity to harbor extremist content.”
Meta insists it has multiple means and tools to help people stay safe in the virtual world.
Features include a Safe Zone button to block people if they bother you.
It also allows the person to report people or content that is offensive or inappropriate.
A spokesperson for Meta said: “We want everyone who uses our products to have a good experience and to easily find the tools that can help in situations like these so that we can investigate and take action.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/woman-claims-avatar-virtually-raped-27077589 Woman claims her avatar was 'virtually raped' by strangers in Metaverse app - World News