- A woman claimed that a gang of male avatars virtually groped her in Meta’s metaverse, The Mail on Sunday reported.
- The 43-year-old said she was also verbally harassed by the avatars in Meta’s Horizon Venues.
- Last month, another woman said she was virtually groped while working as a beta tester for Meta’s Horizon Worlds.
A 43-year-old British woman claims she was virtually groped by a gang of male avatars in Meta’s metaverse earlier this month, The Mail on Sunday first reported.
Nina Jane Patel, who works as the vice president of research for a rival metaverse, said in a Medium post that she was “verbally and sexually harassed” by three or four male avatars in Meta’s Horizon Venues.
The London-based mother said that within a minute of joining the virtual world’s lobby earlier this month, male avatars began harassing her.
According to Patel’s Medium post, the avatars touched her character’s body inappropriately, made sexual comments, and took screenshots for several minutes.
After trying to flee the virtual world, Patel told The Mail on Sunday that she had to tear off her virtual reality (VR) headset to bring an end to the ordeal. She told the paper that she has been suffering from anxiety ever since.
“We’re sorry to hear this happened,” a Meta spokesperson told Insider by email. “We want everyone in Horizon Venues to have a positive experience, and easily find the safety tools that can help in a situation like this – and help us investigate and take action.”
The spokesperson noted that Patel did not use the platform’s reporting tools, allowing users to block, mute, and report anyone near them. Patel told Insider that she wasn’t able to do so quickly enough.
“Horizon Venues should be safe, and we are committed to building it that way,” the Meta statement continued. “We will continue to make improvements as we learn more about how people interact in these spaces, especially when it comes to helping people report things easily and reliably.”
Horizon Venues is a digital experience, which Meta is still developing, that allows people to use a virtual reality headset to create avatars that can watch online events together.
Last month, Insider’s Stephen Jones reported that another woman said a stranger also groped her on one of Meta’s other digital platforms — Horizon Worlds. A Meta internal investigation concluded that the victim hadn’t enabled safety features.