Crimes in the Metaverse | Virtual Assault?
People are claiming they are being assaulted in Meta's metaverse platform Horizon Worlds.
Let me first say - I do not condone any kind of assault, violence, hate speech, or anything like that. I find those things disgusting, and there's a reason that stuff like that is considered a crime. I'm writing this because a day or so ago, I came across an article about a woman claiming to be sexually assaulted in Meta's metaverse Horizon Worlds.
I remember writing an article quite some time ago about them adding a social distancing feature in the game because someone was uncomfortable with how close an avatar came to them. I call it a game, because realistically that's what it is. You have an avatar that looks nothing like you, or even human really. That avatar isn't real, and the things that avatar does in the game mean... Nothing. Like drinking a virtual beer in the metaverse. You're not gunna get drunk.
When you think about crimes that occur on the internet, you think of things like cyberbullying, hacking, and other things like that. You don't generally think "someone's avatar was sexually assaulted". That just sounds ridiculous, right? Am I crazy? I almost laughed when I read this shit because it just sounds silly.
It's a game. Just because you're running around killing people in Grand Theft Auto, doesn't mean you're committing a crime. Even though killing people is a crime, it's not a crime when it's in the game. See what I'm saying?
This woman claims that her avatar was led into a private room at a VR party on Horizon Worlds. Her avatar was then allegedly raped by other avatars while they passed around a bottle of vodka. Again - this is all inside a VR game. The avatars don't even have legs, much less any way for said crime to happen. They are floating torsos and have no actual distinct body parts aside from a head and arms.
So because this person disabled the Personal Boundary Feature, other avatars were able to walk close to her avatar. Thus, they were able to pretend to assault her. Meta has also been kinda forced to build in another feature that is the Safe Zone Button, which allows users to block and report other users. Why would people not use these features if a game makes them so uncomfortable?
I'm not saying that this person's poor avatar wasn't assaulted, because I'm not a judge or anything. People are so stupid that this will probably turn into an actual court case that could result in a charge. Because someone let their avatar get floated over in a game.....
Sadly, this is not the first report of virtual assault. Others claim that their avatar was groped, and other report being verbally assaulted. Look, I don't condone speaking to anyone in a hateful way whether it be racial, sexual, or whatever. I completely agree that there needs to be some sort of moderation for that.
The problem is that they're not gunna hire people to run around these virtual spaces as police. They're basically going to give people the option to block and report. People dumb enough to feel like their avatar is actually them are just going to have to deal with it.
Don't like what another user's avatar is doing? Block them and report them. It's really that simple. You know what else you could do? Just log out. Join another session. Remove your poor, feeble avatar from harm's way.
If anyone was offended by this, I'm sorry. That was not the goal at all, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the situation. I'd love to hear arguments as to how this should be handled.
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