• Advocacy organizations and safety groups are urging Meta to halt plans to allow minors into the metaverse.
• A report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that users under 18 have already been facing harassment from adults in Horizon Worlds.
• Meta is planning to adopt extra measures to protect young users from any metaverse-related violations, but currently doesn’t intend to abandon its plans for minors in the metaverse.
Meta Urged To Ban Minors From Virtual World
Advocacy organizations and safety groups have urged social media giant Meta to halt plans to allow minors into the metaverse. A report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that users under 18 have already been facing harassment from adults on Horizon Worlds and safety experts argue that Meta should create a new path with its metaverse project to protect youth before allowing them access. Despite this, Meta does not intend to abandon their plans for minors in the metaverse and is preparing additional measures of protection.
Safety Groups Raise Concerns
Organizations including Airplay, Common Sense Media, and The Center for Countering Digital Hate signed a letter on April 14th addressed to Mark Zuckerberg’s company calling out their plans and stating that they must first assess potential risks of allowing young people in the virtual reality app as they could face harassment or privacy violations. The letter argued that allowing children and teens into these worlds without first protecting them would demonstrate untrustworthiness when it comes to safeguarding young people’s best interests.
Previous Report On Abuse Directed At Minors
The March report by The Center For Countering Digital Hate witnessed 19 episodes of abuse directed at minors by adults within 100 visits of popular worlds within Horizon Universe including sexual harassment. This raised further concerns about how safe these spaces can be for minors if allowed access without further protection measures put in place by Meta beforehand.
Meta Preparing To Adopt Extra Measures
Joe Osborne commented that despite their intention of inviting younger users between 13-17 years old onto Horizon Worlds, they will be taking extra steps towards protecting them against any form of exploitation or violation within the app.
Although plans are still underway, safety advocates are calling on Meta not only assess potential risks associated with opening up its platform to youth but also create new paths with its project which guarantee their protection against potential harm or exploitation within the app before allowing them access.