Metaverse and NFT

Facebook Metaverse : 21-year-old woman virtually raped

According to the SumOfUs organization, a 21-year-old woman was raped this May in the metaverse and the virtual universe is finding few solutions to prevent these assaults.

Image Source : Fresh google news

Raped by a man holding a bottle of alcohol

A woman conducting studies on social relationships in the metaverse reports that her avatar was “raped” there, less than an hour after she began her experiment. The assault occurred while she was browsing the virtual universe of Horizon Worlds, the metaverse of the company Meta (Facebook, Instagram).

Her visits to the metaverse – a video game concept that is supposed to offer experiences similar to everyday life – were for the purpose of writing a report, released this May, as part of the nonprofit organization SumOfUs, which bills itself as “preventing large corporations from behaving irresponsibly.”

Our researcher was taken to 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 users outside the window could watch them. Another player in the room even passed around a bottle of vodka after the act, the account states.

The young woman was able to feel the rape through her game controllers, which vibrated when the other avatars touched her. She confides that this “physical experience (was) very disorienting and even disturbing” in the columns of the Daily Mail.

In the video, which is available online and which BFMTV has seen, it is possible to see the events from the victim’s point of view. It shows the avatar of a man holding what appears to be a bottle of alcohol, and then, on the right side, the avatar of another man glued to her and making equivocal gestures. Another part of the video was not made public, but was described by the NGO.

The researcher “was taken to a private room at a party, where she was raped by a user telling her to turn around so he could do it from behind, while other users watched through a window – at the same time, a user also in the room was watching and passing around a bottle of vodka,” in the words of the report. The experience was described by the researcher as leaving her “disoriented” and confused.

One part of my brain was in ‘what the hell is this? mode, the other was thinking that this wasn’t my real body, and one was thinking ‘this is important for research, the researcher says in the report.

Virtual barriers were put in place by Meta to protect users. But upon entering the platform, the researcher was asked to disable these devices, which she says she did.

Facebook metaverse : Zuckeberg avatar

The researcher had not activated the Personal Boundary function?

Her story joins those of two other players whose avatars were sexually assaulted in the metaverse quickly after they logged in. Indeed, a British tester revealed in December 2021 to the media outlet The Verge that just one minute after being on the interface, four male avatars tried to touch her, insulted her and ordered her to masturbate. A U.S. player also experienced a similar assault in 2016 on the virtual reality game QuiVr, where users play as archers. It turns out that a player “pursued her by making pinching motions near [her] chest. Emboldened, he even pushed his hand towards [her] virtual crotch and started rubbing himself,” she explained to 20 Minutes.

Faced with these three sexual assaults, Meta has reacted several times. The last time the internet giant spoke out was in May and concerned the SumOfUs researcher’s rape claim. The group’s spokeswoman pointed out that the researcher had not activated the Personal Boundary function, a security tool set by default and preventing non-friends from getting closer than one meter from your avatar. It also reminds that this function “facilitates the prevention of unwanted interactions” in the pages of Echoes. As a reminder, however, if an avatar removes its Personal Boundary, it does not mean that it consents to any kind of relationship.

Other possibilities are considered by Mark Zuckerberg’s company to prevent all types of aggression. Among them, a “safe zone” option that allows you to teleport your avatar to a secure space if you feel threatened is being considered. But also a reflection around the implementation of keys “block” or “report” to be activated against avatars who would insult them or behave badly is underway.

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