Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

Why didn’t the Metaverse learn so well, what a moth?

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

As the most popular Metaverse platform at present, Horizon Worlds, a Metaverse platform owned by Meta, was officially opened in early December last year, and users over the age of 18 in the United States and Canada can log in.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Horizon Worlds promotional image © Bing

This Metaverse platform running on Oculus Quest can be regarded as an important milestone in the Metaverse strategy of Meta. But this highly anticipated platform has experienced unpleasant sexual harassment incidents during the test.

And this is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in the Metaverse. The disguise of the virtual world has made sexual harassment incidents more difficult to prevent.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

The harassment in Horizon Worlds happened to a female tester. The tester claimed that a stranger tried to “touch” her avatar in the square, saying:

In the normal online world, sexual harassment is not an ordinary thing, but when you are in VR, the tension of being sexually harassed is even stronger.

Not only was I touched by strangers in Horizon Worlds last night, but the other melon eaters seemed to support the behavior, which left me feeling isolated and helpless in the plaza.

While sexual harassment in the Metaverse appears to be a new issue, there have been many such incidents in previous Metaverse-like games.

Callum Hood, head of research at the Center Against Digital Hate, recently spent weeks documenting interactions in VR Chat games.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ VR Chat promotional image © Bing

The game is primarily played by wearing an Oculus Quest headset. In the game, people can form virtual communities, manipulate characters to play cards, meet in virtual clubs or meet and chat in virtual public spaces.

Oculus has said the game does not pose a safety issue for teens. However, Hood said that in just 11 hours he logged more than 100 problematic events in the VR Chat game, some involving teenage users who claimed to be under 13.

Hood also said that in some cases, some of the users’ avatars made sexual and violent threats against minors, and some even tried to show minors pornographic content.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ VR Chat promotional image © Bing

These actions violate both Oculus’ Terms of Service and VR Chat’s Terms of Service. Hood mentioned that he had submitted the findings to the two companies but had not heard back. He stated:

The VR Chat game is not safe, and neither its developers nor Facebook have taken basic steps to ban abusive actors from the game. While they invite minors into the Metaverse, they create a safe haven for abusers.

In addition to VR Chat, there is a similar problem in another more immersive VR shooter, Population Hegemony.Not long ago, Chanel Sieggens put on an Oculus Quest to enter “Population Hegemony”, she manipulated her avatar into the virtual hall of the immersive digital world, waiting for the game to start.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Population hegemony propaganda image © Bing

However, while she was waiting, another player’s avatar approached her and subsequently performed lewd actions on her character. She was shocked and asked the male character player to stop, but things didn’t go as expected. Sieggens said in the interview:

He shrugged as if to say “I don’t know how to tell you, this is the Metaverse, I can do whatever I want”, and then he walked away nonchalantly. When something bad happens, like when someone comes over and touches you, the brain tricks you into thinking it’s happening in the real world, a feeling that gets stronger as the Metaverse continues to develop.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ VR glasses © Bing

The immersive experience brought by a VR device is undoubtedly a double-edged sword: if it can give you a real feeling when you are playing happily, it can also make you feel more uncomfortable when you are violated.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

These incidents naturally caused heated discussions, and at the same time, many people questioned: Is it sexual harassment if the body is not touched for real? In this regard, some foreign experts said: “Virtual reality has a sense of immersion and authenticity, and harmful behaviors in this environment are also authentic.” Some experts said that touching the body of the character in the Metaverse space, if there is no Obtaining the consent of the other party is, of course, a violation of personal rights.

Because each virtual character is kneaded by the user, and to a certain extent represents the personality attributes of a person in reality, the violation of this representative symbol is naturally a violation of the real character.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Face pinching session of VR Chat © Bing

Fortunately, the victims are not willing to be reduced to lambs to be slaughtered: in order to prevent such incidents from happening again, Sieggens, who was harassed in “Population Hegemony”, bravely stood up. She joined a virtual group for dedicated women, many of whom also played the game.

Siggens said group members often encounter harassment in the game. Another member of the group, Mari Derazia from Tucson, Arizona, described:

The frequency of harassment and raids I’ve seen in Population Hegemony is about two to three times a week, sometimes more. Sometimes, we even see two or three violations of the rules of the game every day.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ VR Chat promotional image © Bing

Sieggens finally chose to report the user account that harassed her, and then she received an automatic reply from the game party: the platform said they had taken punitive measures against the user. “I don’t know if he was banned for a day, a week, or permanently,” Sieggens said. “In either case, the harassment just kept happening.”

But she also said that despite the harassment, she found a group of friends in this virtual world, who often played games together and enjoyed the interaction.

In addition to the changes brought about by individual reports, the platform has not sat idly by such incidents.Meta says the company is adding personal boundaries to Horizon Worlds: a decision made after a tip-off from the female victim at the beginning of the article.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ VR Chat promotional image © Bing

Meta has since launched a personal boundary feature within Horizon Worlds, a feature that puts about four feet between individuals and others to avoid unnecessary interactions. If someone tries to get too close, the system will stop that person.This feature will be always on by default, and in the future Meta may consider adding new user controls, such as people being able to change the size of its boundaries. Meta spokesperson Christina Milian said:

We do not allow attacks on others based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, caste, gender, gender identity, and serious illness or disability.

It seems that this is indeed a good vision. After all, everyone hopes that the Metaverse world can become a true utopia, but can the governance of the Metaverse keep up with its development?

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

In fact, in the current Internet, information that appears in social networking sites, chat software, live video, and game interfaces with a sexually provocative meaning and causing discomfort to the other party is still the main way of sexual harassment in the virtual world.

However, with the advancement of Metaverse-related technologies, the enhancement of immersive experience will lead to more new types of sexual harassment shown in the above cases, and the discomfort will also be more intense.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Population hegemony propaganda image © Bing

Population Conquest player Derazia, mentioned above, tried entering the game wearing a haptic vest that transmits sensations through buzzing and vibration. But when another player touches her character’s chest, she feels worse than ever. Derazia also pointed to her concerns about the future:

In the Metaverse that Zuckerberg describes, people can put on a full-body suit to experience more sensations, which I think is very disturbing.

And it’s not just a problem for female gamers: Back in 2018, a survey of 600 VR gamers who used VR at least twice a month showed that 49% of women and 36% of men reported having played a game in VR. experienced sexual harassment.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Horizon Worlds © Bing

It can be said that the problem of sexual harassment in the Metaverse has a long history, and the frequency of occurrence and the adverse effects are more serious than imagined. Preventing and solving the problem of sexual harassment in the Metaverse needs to be put on the agenda.

Although the cases described in the article all happened abroad, the inspiration and warning are the same. Governments, platforms and individuals all need to learn from this experience and make arrangements and preparations in advance to better prevent and control such risks.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ The world of VR Chat © Bing

At the same time, platforms should also assume their due responsibilities, regularly collect and summarize harassment cases that occur on their platforms, and formulate, clarify, and refine relevant management regulations in a targeted manner. In addition, users’ feedback should also be paid attention to by the platform, and disciplinary measures should be strictly implemented; in addition, relevant publicity should be carried out on the platform to establish the awareness of “Metaverse is not an extra-legal place” for the user group.

Metaverse harassment incidents occur frequently, and it has to be guarded against.

📸️ Horizon Worlds © Sogou

However, in fact, the issue of sexual harassment in the Metaverse is not fundamentally different from the various harassment incidents that occurred in the previous web 2.0 era: although the prevention of sexual harassment in the Metaverse requires technically higher requirements, what the platform really needs to reverse is Attitudes to govern virtual communities.

Whether the major Internet platforms can reverse the inertia of governance in the face of various vicious incidents is actually the Metaverse and the key to the management and control of sexual harassment in all virtual worlds.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/metaverse-harassment-incidents-occur-frequently-and-it-has-to-be-guarded-against/
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