Woman Says She Was ‘Virtually Gang-Raped’ In Facebook’s Metaverse (This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things)

Is nothing sacred anymore? Leave it to male gamers to mess up everything good and holy. (Or at least fun.) A 43-year-old mother from London claims she was the virtual victim of sexual assault in Facebook’s Horizon Worlds VR metaverse.

“Within 60 seconds of joining—I was verbally and sexually harassed—3-4 male avatars, with male voices, essentially, but virtually gang-raped my avatar and took photos,” she wrote in a Medium post. “As I tried to get away, they yelled, ‘Don’t pretend you didn’t love it’ and ‘Go rub yourself off to the photo.’”⁠

This “nightmare,” as Patel called it back in December, is all too common. That same month, a beta tester told Verge that someone groped her avatar.

“Sexual harassment is no joke on the regular internet, but being in VR adds another layer that makes the event more intense,” the tester wrote. “Not only was I groped last night, but there were other people there who supported this behavior, which made me feel isolated in the Plaza.”⁠

It would appear Mark Zuckerberg’s big idea – a futuristic digital universe in which avatars live like real-life people online – is already a bad one…because people are awful, whether they’re interacting in person or on a screen.

Those who read Patel’s post – or at least, those who commented – were less than sympathetic. They told her to choose a male avatar instead and accused her of “a pathetic cry for attention,” completely missing the point that men should behave better.

And this is why we should all just turn off our devices and go enjoy a people-less place in nature instead. There’s nothing new on the internet. It’s all the same shit, just packaged differently.

Cover Photo: Facebook



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