Horizon Worlds beta virtual groping

December 2021

A beta tester of Meta's new social virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds has revealed that her avatar was groped by a stranger, raising questions about the safety of metaverses and specifically of Mark Zuckerberg's much-hyped new business direction.

The tester told The Verge, 'sexual harassment is no joke on the regular internet, but being in VR adds another layer that makes the event more intense', especially when 'there were other people there who supported this behaviour'.

According to the Technology Review, Meta’s internal review of the incident found that the beta tester had not used the platform's 'Safe Zone' tool which enables users to lock themselves in a secure bubble away from other users until they signal they would like to exit it.

Operator: Meta/Quest
Developer: Meta/Quest
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Provide virtual social experience
Technology: Virtual reality; Safety management system
Issue: Safety
Opacity:
Existence