Online sexual harassment is already a problem in Zuckerberg’s new metaverse, and the virtual world has only just come out of its testing phase.
A volunteer tester of Horizon Worlds, the virtual game created to simulate the future metaverse dreamt up by Mark Zuckerberg, has reported that her avatar suffered sexual harassment during the testing of the virtual world.
The incident occurred on November 26. In the complaint made in the official Horizon group on Facebook, the victim indicated that an unknown avatar had groped hers without consent. “Sexual harassment is not a joke on the internet, but being in a virtual reality adds a completely new layer which makes the event even more intense,” she lamented.
The volunteer, whose name has not been revealed, reported that other people present at the time “supported the behaviour” and did nothing to help, which made her feel even more uncomfortable.
In response to the complaint, the person in charge of Horizon, Vivek Sharma, described the incident as “unfortunate” and indicated that the beta version being used for the tests did not have the “safe space” tool activated. This tool enables users to block avatars so that they cannot interact with them in the virtual world.
Despite the incident, Meta made its virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds free for all users in the United States and Canada on December 9, after being tested for more than a year.
For the moment, the avatars available are a type of 3D human without legs.
Horizon Worlds is now open to more people in the US and Canada. We’ve been amazed at the spaces creators have made and we can’t wait to see what you build next! pic.twitter.com/Dz95WmXES6
— Meta (@Meta) December 9, 2021
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