The Dark Side of the Metaverse

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A series of questions have already arisen in relation to how the largely unknown realm of virtual reality should be policed.

  • The concept of the metaverse still has a long way to go before it can embody the vision that Mark Zuckerberg presented to the world last year.
  • Reports have begun to trickle in regarding harassment and even assault on the virtual reality (VR) platform. There are a multitude of ways to interact with other avatars - including “groping”.
  • Nina Jane Patel, a psychotherapist who conducts metaverse research, reported that she was shocked when three to four male avatars sexually assaulted her almost immediately after she joined.
  • There is a “Safe Zone” function which people can use on the platform. However, in the case of Patel, she described being unable to use this feature, as she was “frozen”.
  • The goal of VR is to convince users they are physically within that space. Some argue that due to this, the emotional and psychological response to such an experience can be as strong as in real life.
  • Meta (formerly Facebook) opened up access to its VR platform in December 2021 to those over 18 in the US and Canada.
The Guardian
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4 articles on this topic

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