Amid all the hype surrounding the metaverse as the next big thing, you probably never imagined it would be used as a tool for sexual harassment. A woman working as a beta tester on Meta’s Horizon Worlds has alleged that she was groped by a stranger.
The incident was first reported by the American technology blog The Verge over a week ago. According to the report, the unnamed woman claimed her avatar was groped by a stranger. To make matters worse, other users supported the incident. The blog wrote:
Sexual harassment is no joke on the regular internet, but being in VR adds another layer that makes the event more intense.
As reported by BTC PEERS, Meta’s Horizon Worlds became open to all US and Canadian adults last week. The social VR experience platform arguably mirror’s Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse.
Following the report of the incident, Meta launched an internal investigation. Meanwhile, according to MIT Technology Review, the sexual harassment happened on November 26, and the woman wrote a post about it on December 1. The results from Meta’s investigation showed that the victim had not turned on a safety feature designed to prevent harassment on the platform at the time of the incident.
Commenting on the issue, Vivek Sharma, Meta’s VP of Horizon, described it as “absolutely unfortunate.” On the flip side, he told The Verge that it was good feedback in order to make the Safe Zone blocking tool “trivially easy and findable.”
Once activated, the Safe Zone feature stops other users from interacting with a particular user.