Metaverse’s thorny issue, how Facebook’s parent Meta is dealing with online harassment

The term social media harassment can be characterized as cyberbullying, stalking, or even disgracing and intimidating somebody over social media. Abusive language, harassing, trolling, and flaming are all examples of cyberbullying. According to the PEW data, roughly 4 out of 10 Americans have experienced online harassment. While most audiences believe that harassment and bullying are online problems, the solution to resolve this remains debatable. Only 18% of the public believe that social media companies are doing a good job at tackling the situation, but almost all of that remains to criticize them.

Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms on Friday rolled out a minimum distance policy between users’ avatars in its upcoming virtual reality Horizon network after reports of harassment started surfacing. Back last December, one of Meta’s beta testers posted in the official group of beta testers about being groped by a stranger in the digital world. Then, just a few weeks back—When Nina Patel claimed that she was virtually gang-raped in the metaverse just in a matter of seconds after she joined.

Online harassment, sadly is one of the thorny issues faced by Meta. Especially after the company is looking forward to shifting towards VR as a part of its development. Meta platform has issued a new personal boundary for VR avatars in its Horizon worlds. Personal boundary, which according to Meta will create a virtual distance of approximately 4-foot that will prevent avatars to get ‘too close’ and avoid unwanted interactions. Meta, shortly, might add options to limit personal boundaries.

Unfortunately, such events are the major reason why we cannot simply enjoy nice things. However, this doesn’t have much effect on the current progress, but it is just saddening that such precautions were needed.

Meta unbarred the gate of its virtual reality platform for the public in North America in December. A step towards building the future vision of its metaverse.

Sadly, the public has criticized the giant company for its failure to halt online harassment and misinformation. But since social media is now a part of our personal and professional lives, it is up to social media companies to improve the system to counter such problems. Since the possibility of eliminating such events is very low and according to social media executives, their platforms are just a reflection of our societies.

Virtual reality might open up new forms of harassment or become a platform for such incidents, but it is not Meta’s fault that such groups with negative mindsets are present over the internet.

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