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30th May 2022

Female researcher’s avatar sexually assaulted in the metaverse

Danny Jones

Researcher sexually assaulted in the metaverse

This isn’t an isolated case

A female researcher claims her digital avatar was sexually assaulted in virtual reality while in the metaverse.

The researcher detailed the incident, captured on her Oculus headset, in a report entitled, Metaverse: another cesspool of toxic content, published by the SumOfUs advocacy group on May 24.

The woman was in Meta‘s Horizon Worlds to study users’ behaviour in augmented realities and states that within an hour she was virtually assaulted and raped by other avatars. Video footage is also included in the findings.

Horizon Worlds.

The researcher says she was invited to a private party earlier this month and after entering the same room, was asked to disable a personal boundary safety setting that prevents others from getting within four feet of other people.

In a video of the incident, her avatar is seen having a bottle shoved in her face as people make remarks like, “you’re gonna need more this, shorty” and “hey, a free show”.

In addition to the virtual assault, the nonprofit’s social media accounts detailed a widespread culture of inappropriate behaviour, which included “rampant sexual, homophobic and racist comments”.

This isn’t the first time this type of incident has been reported. In January a woman said she was “virtually gang-raped” within 30 seconds of entering the metaverse and people have been calling for more moderation and safeguarding measures for those using the service with further reports of child accounts being allowed to enter virtual strip clubs.

Mark Zuckerberg is said to have lost billions following Facebook’s transition to Meta.

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