Parents are concerned that their children are being exposed to dangerous and “unspeakable” topics and experiences via Facebook’s Metaverse, which allows children to enter virtual strip clubs, view virtual sexual acts, and more.
BBC’s Jess Sherwood made the discovery after setting up an account where her identity was not verified and used an app that allowed her to input her age as 13 years old.
Sherwood says she was approached by adult men in the rooms and was able to visit VR rooms that showed 3D avatars of real people having sexual intercourse. Sherwood says that she was also able to see VR condoms and VR sex toys.
The app was not made by Meta, though it can be downloaded via the App Store on the Meta headset. The headset was previously known as the Oculus Rift.
According to Sherwood, there is no way to verify one’s age, and the only requirement is that a person has a Facebook account.
“Mark Zuckerberg thinks it could be the future of the internet – so much so, he recently rebranded Facebook as Meta, with the company investing billions developing its Oculus Quest headset,” the BBC writes, writing that the headset can allow children to mix freely with adults.
One man told our researcher that avatars can “get naked and do unspeakable things”. Others talked about erotic role-play,” the report says.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children spokesperson Andy Burrows said that the product is “dangerous by design because of oversight and neglect.”
“It’s children being exposed to entirely inappropriate, really incredibly harmful experiences,” he said.
“We are seeing products rolled out without any suggestion that safety has been considered,” Burrows said.
One user even said that she had an incident where she encountered a 7-year-old on the app.
She describes having seen men surround users and joke about raping them. Allen said that she had to “between the men and the child to protect her” in the virtual world.