National Center on Sexual Exploitation Urges Meta to Prioritize User Safety Over Profit
WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is calling on Meta (formerly Facebook) once again to prioritize robust safety standards in its virtual reality platforms and products in light of an undercover news investigation finding that adults and minors are experiencing sexual abuse, harassment, and racism in virtual worlds focused on social connection.
Meta is on the 2022 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation, in large part due to ample evidence of harm on Meta’s virtual reality portals as it moves toward the concept of the metaverse.
“Meta has an obligation to protect its users from harm and to correct dangerous design flaws. Yet the Tech Giant has proven to be either unable or unwilling to prevent and adequately address the sexual exploitation and abuse rampant across all of its platforms,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“This disturbing and often criminal trend clearly continues in Meta’s virtual reality spaces and products. Users of Meta’s VR games (e.g. Horizon Worlds) and devices (e.g. Meta Quest, formerly Oculus Quest) have been subject to sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, racist comments, and sexual predators in virtual spaces – harms that can leave the user feeling trauma since the technology mimics physical world experiences. Increasing evidence points to a hostile and unsafe environment for users of all ages, especially minors and minorities. We will continue to press on Meta to prioritize user safety over profit.
“Safety solutions cannot wait until Meta gets dragged in front of Congress again. If Meta believes the metaverse is the future, it must invest in substantive changes to protect users now.”