Woman Says Avatar Was Sexually Abused In Metaverse App

Nina Jane Patel, a researcher taking a tour of a new Metaverse app, claims her avatar has been virtually sexually assaulted. It took less than 60 seconds for her to be verbally and sexually harassed in Horizon Worlds, a game developed for Oculus that Mark Zuckerberg mastermind she revealed. The alleged incident happened as Patel watched from her Oculus headset and she called her virtual male attackers “ruthless.”

“A group of male avatars surrounded me and started groping my avatar while taking selfies,” she recalls. “I tried to run away, but they followed me, laughing and screaming. They were ruthless.” Patel, a psychotherapist and metaverse researcher, quickly took off her headphones.

Patel added:

“When I left, they yelled, ‘Don’t pretend you didn’t like it; this is why you came here.’”

The 21-year-old woman works as a researcher for SumOfUs — a nonprofit advocacy group that wants to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable. SumOfUs included a clip from the event in its report this month, focusing on sexual assault, hate speech and content moderation issues at Meta.

Abuse, Racism and Sexual Assault Overwhelm Metaverse Games

Meta’s Horizon apps offer a variety of virtual activities if you have a Facebook login and headset. The female researcher who had just entered the Horizon app strangely described the alleged encounter as “very disorienting” and “disturbing”. While sharing an essay about it on Medium, she apparently felt conflicted.

“It happened so fast that I kind of drifted off it. Part of my brain was like wtf was going on. The other part was like this isn’t a real body, and another part was like, this is important research. ”

Research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCD) in December found more than 100 possible Meta violations. In addition to sexual harassment and assault, the abusive behavior highlighted in the report included racism, bullying, threats of violence and “content that mocked the 9/11 terror attacks.” The organization indicates that the platform is not safe for children.

Roomies, are you at all shocked by this claim?

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