Channel 4 broadcasts show Metaverse users bragging about being attracted to “little girls”

Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed evidence of Metaverse users bragging about being attracted to “little girls ages nine to 12” and making fun of rape and racism in the VR world.

An investigation found that sexually explicit comments and threatening behavior were made minutes after a Channel 4 reporter went undercover with Mark Zuckerberg’s 3D community.

Yinka Bokinni impersonated a 22-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl as part of an investigation to be broadcast tonight.

Using the most popular VR headset, the Oculus Quest, owned by Meta, which has sold eight million, she tried out the two most popular apps in her store: VRChat and Rec Room.

However, within minutes of using both apps, she was surrounded by other users making sexually explicit comments, witnessing simulated sexual acts as she walked around, including between users who appeared to be underage.

A music video shows the undercover reporter being threatened by a cat avatar, who asks her to breed with him and then says “who’s going to stop me?”, approaching her repeatedly.

Another saw her walk into an “adult room” with someone saying, “Do you like taking underage heads?” than simulating a sexual act.

A third clip revealed a user saying he likes “little girls between the ages of nine and twelve.”

In another scene, a user was seen using racist language and saying, “You’re black.” Pretend you’re black, go back to the fields, cotton picker.

A music video shows the undercover journalist being threatened by a cat avatar, who asks her to breed with him and then says, “Who’s stopping me?”

Another saw her walk into an “adult room” with someone saying, “Do you like taking underage heads?” and then simulate a sexual act

A third clip revealed a user saying he “loves little girls between the ages of nine and 12”

News reporter Yinka Bokinni impersonated a 22-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl in an investigation airing tonight

What is the “metaverse”?

Led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the “Metaverse” is a collection of virtual spaces where you can play, work, and interact with others who are not in the same physical space as you.

User avatars can explore the online world and meet, interact with and visit a growing network of virtual locations such as cities, rural scenes or cafes.

Landowners can also use their virtual spaces to design experiences for others to enjoy.

Zuckerberg believes the virtual world is the future and launched the Oculus Quest headset, now called Meta Quest.

Facebook explained, “You can hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more.

“It’s not necessarily about spending more time online, it’s about making the time you spend online more meaningful.”

While Facebook is in charge with the metaverse, it explained that it is not a one-size-fits-all product that one company can build alone.

“Like the Internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,” he added.

“And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will not be fully realized until the next 10 to 15 years.

Led by the founder of Facebook, the Metaverse is a collection of virtual spaces where you can play, work and interact with others who are not in the same physical space as you.

User avatars can explore the online world and meet, interact with and visit a growing network of virtual locations such as cities, rural scenes or cafes.

But the new technology has been accused of lack of protection and moderation, with mother Nina Jane Patel claiming she was sexually assaulted for less than a minute after entering the online virtual world earlier this year.

Earlier, the Center for Countering Digital Hate was also discovered that users, including minors, are “exposed to abuse every seven minutes”.

Now a Channel 4 probe has raised new concerns about the security of the virtual world.

Yinka recalled her experience, saying, “There was a lot of sexual harassment going on. It’s really intimidating.

“It is shocking to see the amount of racist, sexist and homophobic statements circulating. Just because you put on a helmet, you are suddenly no longer responsible for what you say.

“It’s not okay to do it in a classroom, in a workplace, on public transport, on the road, so why is it okay to do it in the metaverse?”

VRChat, which is not made by Meta but can be downloaded from the store, has already come under fire after a BBC investigation found that grooming, sexual material, racist comments and rape threats were common in the app.

And Channel 4’s investigation has now found a user using racist comments in apps, while a second avatar said: “I just like little girls aged 9-12, that’s just my thing.”

Ms Bokinni also encountered sexually threatening behavior from what appeared to be teenagers, while other users appeared to discuss sexual acts with children – including in the same room.

It comes after a similar investigation by the Center for Countering Digital Hate came to light that users, including minors, are “exposed to abuse every seven minutes”.

People entering the Metaverse, controlled by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, can gain “divine powers” to create their own virtual world by speaking it.

The investigation found that sexually explicit comments and threatening behavior were made minutes after a Channel 4 reporter infiltrated the Metaverse.

Mark Zuckerberg, via video, spoke at Into the Metaverse in Austin, Texas last month

This included exposure to explicit sexual content, bullying, sexual harassment and abuse of others.

The investigation also revealed “threats of violence and content mocking the 9/11 terrorist attacks”.

Andy Burrows, head of online child safety policy at the NSPCC, told Channel 4: “Kids enter these spaces expecting to be safe.” And what you see are spaces designed to appeal to children, to attract children, but not even a fleeting attempt at protection or moderation. You have a Wild West online.

It follows similar comments from TV host and online safety campaigner Carol Vorderman last week, who warned of the dangers of the emerging ‘metaverse’ for young children when she called for new legislation to be passed to protect users.

The presenter, 61, also likened immersive technology to the ‘Wild West’ warning about the dangers of grooming and the effect it will have on the brain.

An earlier BBC investigation found that children as young as 13 went to virtual strip clubs (pictured) and witnessed simulated sex

The BBC investigation found that young people ‘undress and do unspeakable things’ or engage in ‘erotic role-playing’ in the apps (pictured)

Tory MP Damian Collins also warned that “we really should be scared” of the metaverse, adding that real-world problems can “exist completely unchecked” in the virtual world.

In January, mother Nina Jane Patel watched and listened in horror through a virtual reality headset as her avatar was groped during a sustained assault by three realistic male figures.

She had to take off her helmet – which covers her eyes and shows her the metaverse as her avatar sees it – to end the ordeal.

Though she can’t actually feel the avatars’ hands, since the attack, Ms. Patel has been plagued with fear — and fear for the safety of her three teenage daughters and other women in this lawless virtual world.

A Meta spokesperson said: “We don’t own these apps and they can be used on phones, laptops and other VR devices, not just on Quest.

“We encourage other companies to choose the identity system we’ve created because our system allows users to more effectively block or deactivate abusive users in all virtual worlds.” We cannot take action against customers on devices we do not own.

“We provide tools that allow users to block other users from their experiences and report issues on the Quest platform, giving them more control over their VR experiences.

“We prohibit anyone under the age of 13 from creating Quest accounts and designing certain experiences for those 18 and older only.

“We have a range of VR parental control tools to help parents and caregivers who choose to allow teens ages 13 and older to use the headset to monitor their use, limit the time they spend using it, and make sure make sure they take breaks.”

Rec Room said users can limit the voices they hear in the app to just “friends, favorite friends, their current group or none”.

VRChat said: “Underage users are not allowed to create an account. If they lie about their age and are detected on our platform, they will be banned immediately.

“User safety is a top priority for VRChat and we have provided users with a number of tools to help protect themselves.”

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