Meanwhile in the Metaverse: Guy Posing As 13-Year-Old Scores Access to Sex Dungeon, Facebook 2.0 Nearing Full Creep Potential

In the beginning, there were chat rooms. And even then, when AOL was king, most people used chat rooms to assume fake identities, act out secret fantasies, and be creepy in ways that weren’t possible IRL. Nearly 30 years later with the arrival of the metaverse, it looks like not much has changed.

Only now, the platform which once existed merely as type-written thoughts on a message chain has evolved to become a fully immersive experience. One that’s led to everything from broken necks to virtual gang rapes. Oh – and sex dungeons for kids as one researcher discovered firsthand while wading into the seedy frontier of the metaverse.

Featured on Facebook’s Meta Quest headset, VRChat is a digital new-topia where users can interact in virtual chat rooms using 3D avatars. And while VRChat offers all kinds of worlds to explore (ie. intergalactic landscapes and rec rooms for baseball), it’s also absurdly easy to wander into a fetish room where aforementioned 3D avatars are engaging in “unspeakable things”. Things like cybersex orgies, sexual grooming of underage users, bullying, and coercion.

But because there are no laws governing behavior in the metaverse (and Facebook provides virtually zero moderation), experts believe they are witnessing the rise of a highly problematic online culture. The findings of a BBC researcher posing as a 13-year-old on VRChat are confirming that belief in explicit detail.

When confronted with the more sex-dungeony parts of their platform, both Facebook and VRChat had the same boilerplate response, claiming they’d make improvements moving forward as they “learn more about how people interact in these spaces.” But as we all know, chat rooms have always been a breeding ground for bad behavior. And with the metaverse positioning itself for a big bang, it looks like this is only the beginning.

Cover Photo: SERGIO FLORES (Getty Images)