Sexual Misconduct Issues Sparks New Concerns for Metaverse

By

The expansion of metaverse technology is currently one of the most interesting developments in the world of tech. After Facebook recently announced rebranding to Meta Platforms, the concept seems to have become legitimized by both tech enthusiasts and business leaders. While it’s still too early to tell if the Metaverse will gain the same popularity as social media, the surge in investments toward virtual reality platforms seems to suggest tech leaders have a great deal of faith in the idea.

Although most metaverse platforms are currently in a testing phase, some early users are already experiencing some major issues. Specifically, sexual harrassment. According to a recent report by MIT Technology review, an early beta tester of Horizon Worlds (Meta’s VR platform) claims she was sexually assaulted while gaming in the virtual space. The user took to Facebook to explain how another participant virtually groped her, and how some witnesses seemed to support this behavior.

Officials with Meta Platforms were quick to acknowledge this issue, and pointed out users can deploy a “Safe Mode” feature to protect virtual avatars when users feel threatened. However, the incident is creating concerns about the future of metaverse usage in the business world, as well as whether or not this type of conduct is actually “real” and warrants punishment for offenders.

All of these issues are fairly complicated. For starters, virtual reality is extremely different from other forms of online interaction. With VR technology, users are becoming more immersed in virtual environments, making online activity more personal and interactive from the users perspective. With graphics and imaging becoming more realistic every year, the tech could eventually become indistinguishable from reality. On the other hand, some may claim virtual experiences are simply fiction, and shouldn’t be compared to interactions in the real world.

Luckily, most metaverse platforms are still in development, so creators have time to work out the flaws before officially launching. There are a number of  potential solutions to keeping users safe, while also maintaining an enjoyable virtual experience for users. For instance, metaverse developers can simply make users unable to touch other users all together, guaranteeing sexual misconduct issues are never a possibility in VR settings. Strict rules of conduct can force users to remain respectful, or face being suspended or banned from the platform. Virtual bots could be deployed to patrol virtual settings, similar to real-world police, so users can report instances of misconduct immediately after they happen.

Developers need to ensure well-rounded safety measures are in place before going live, regardless of what some consider “real” or “fiction”. If platform creators want their projects to be prominent as social media sites, rules of conduct need to be firmly established before officially launching.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Editor, TechZone360

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

What does an IT support team do?

By: Contributing Writer    8/15/2022

Most IT support teams are tasked with day-to-day troubleshooting. This ranges from fixing machines and networks to physically maintaining them by chan…

Read More

Top 7 Tips for Making Open-Source Software More Secure

By: Contributing Writer    8/15/2022

In the wake of high-profile security threats, companies and governments are increasingly turning to open-source software as one of the ways to avoid s…

Read More

Security for Playing Online Casino Games on Your Mobile

By: Contributing Writer    8/12/2022

Technology has transformed how humans perceive and do things. One of the sectors that technology has dramatically improved is the online gaming sector…

Read More

Fans Ready to Embrace Stadium Digital Future

By: Greg Tavarez    8/10/2022

In Oracle Food and Beverage's report, 70% of attendees would prefer to have service jobs replaced by digital solutions in the future.

Read More

Twilio Cyber Attack: Social Engineering is Real and Really Dangerous

By: Matthew Vulpis    8/9/2022

Phishing is commonly used by cyber criminals, as an attack that exploits an organization's last line of cyber defense - the employees

Read More