A recent Channel 4 exposé has revealed sexual and racist abuse runs rife in the metaverse as firms continue to roll out the new technology.
The investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches has found that the metaverse raises security risks for young people.
Working undercover, journalist Yinka Bokinni posed as a 22-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl on the Meta Oculus Quest Store apps, VRChat and Rec Room.
Upon arrival in the online world, she was met with a flood of abuse; this included the discussion of sex acts with minors, as well as the use of racial slurs.
The Times also carried out a similar investigation in January, with a reporter deeming the virtual world as a “home to sex predators”.
Andy Burrows, the head of child safety online policy at NSPCC, told Channel 4: “Children are going into those spaces expecting that they will be safe.
“And what you’re seeing is spaces that are being designed to appeal to children, to draw children in, but then no even cursory attempt at safeguarding, or at moderating. You have an online Wild West.”
In response to the programme, Meta said: “We don’t own these apps, and they can be used on phones, laptops and other VR devices, not just Quest.
“We cannot take action against customers on devices we don’t make. We prohibit anyone under 13 from creating Quest accounts and design some experiences only for people 18 and over.”
The Channel 4 findings will be broadcast this evening.