The non-profit organization’s report describes the situation in some detail, revealing the dire nature of the situation. The woman insisted she felt completely “distracted”. According to experts, virtual events can create “big confusion” and “emotions” in the victim.
What began as a study of user behavior in Horizon Worlds was extremely traumatic as a Facebook owner’s metavars, quick rape, and an emotional experience. One researcher entered Meta’s virtual space, but even after an hour her incarnation was being violated, in a state of minor figuration.
The case is reported in the report “Metavers: Another Pit of Toxic Content” by the non-profit organization SumOfUs, which is dedicated to addressing issues such as human rights and corporate power.
As soon as she entered the Horizon Worlds virtual platform, the researcher, who was using the Oculus virtual reality system (technology which was also adopted by Mark Zuckerberg), was invited to a private party with other users. In that space, they persuaded her to turn off a security device that, when activated, prevents other avatars from approaching – other users are always more than a meter apart.
Turning off the security device, the woman was taken to a “private room” where the rape took place. The document describes the case in some detail, revealing its bizarre nature.
“She was taken to a private room where she was raped by a user who told her to turn back so that she could do it from behind while other users were looking out of the window – everything the other user saw in the room and passed a bottle of vodka.”
The report includes a video showing part of the scene from the researcher’s point of view: one male avatar is seen approaching, the other is standing nearby, just watching, while the two are carrying a bottle of liquor.
“The sexual act was not consensual,” the organization said in a document. Despite the violations in the virtual world, the investigator said in the report that she felt completely “distracted”. Its control devices vibrate, mimicking the sensations the avatar experiences online.
“It simply came to our notice then. One part of my brain felt ‘what’s going on’, another part thought it wasn’t a real body, another part thought it was something important to investigate, “he explained.
Virtual rape: A screen that “protects” the victim and “protects” the attacker
Madeline Sophia Oliveira, an expert in the field of psychosocial and forensic medicine, emphasizes victimization, believing that we are dealing with a phenomenon that, even if it is only virtual, can be very “effective” for the victim and “create a great deal of emotion.” This is something that goes against the psychological and moral integrity, which leads to great confusion and disorientation among the victims “, CNN Portugal University professor underlines.
This type of “toxic behavior” on online platforms, stressful to experts, is often done by people who feel “protected by the screen”.
“There is a sense of protection from the aggressor himself, who believes that it will have no consequences, cannot be identified, while the victim is left in a state of great insecurity.”
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is betting heavily on Metavers – an immersive virtual environment that seeks to replicate reality through a variety of technologies, including virtual reality, augmented reality and the Internet. In December, Horizon Worlds was launched for people over the age of 18 and with 300,000 users in the United States and Canada alone.
Since then, the platform has been the target of numerous complaints due to the violent nature of its content. Moreover, this is not the first time that a woman in this virtual space has been exposed for being “raped”. Psychotherapist Nina Jane Patel shared on Horizon Worlds what she described as a “nightmare” of being a victim of “gang rape”.
Rape, sexual harassment, racism and homophobic insults: this is the virtual world of Facebook
In a report just released by SumOfUs, cases of sexual harassment have been highlighted not only in Horizon Worlds but also on other virtual Meta platforms. The New York Times reported earlier that a user had been “grouped” into a shooting game by Mark Zuckerberg’s company. According to the organization, racist and homophobic insults are also a constant.
Facebook metaverse is a recent project that is not yet available in Portugal, but online violence is a transversal issue when it comes to digital platforms. Madeleine Sophia Oliveira believes that “the dangers associated with this new digital technology” require a “double look” on these devices.
“The most important thing is to use caution in the widespread use of this platform,” the teacher told CNN Portugal.
Faced with the violent content of Metavers, Meta correspondent Christina Millian told MIT Technology Review that she tried to resolve the dispute by telling users that “finding a positive experience and safety tools is easy.” However, he noted that if the user does not use this option, “it is never your fault” and the company’s goal is to “continue to improve the platform so that users can quickly report abuse”. “Our goal is to secure Horizon Worlds and we are committed to achieving that,” he added.
However, two major investors in Meta, Arjun Capital and Storebrand Asset Management have expressed concern over the issue due to allegations of harassment and misconduct on the platform. The companies asked Meta to publish a report highlighting the threats that users face in a virtual environment.
At a recent stakeholder meeting, a proposal was also submitted for an assessment by an external entity on the “potential mental, civil and human rights loss to users of the platform” and how this loss could be minimized or avoided. . This initiative, however, was rejected.