Report: Facebook Could Struggle To Stop Harassment On Its Virtual Reality Platforms

For the past several years, Facebook (now Meta) has invested heavily in virtual reality platforms like Oculus and Echo VR. However, according to a recent report from CNET, Facebook has struggled to stop harassment and offensive behavior in these virtual environments. Of course, this doesn’t bode well for the company’s plans to create an all-encompassing virtual “metaverse” for its users.

According to the report, troubling examples of these problems came to light when Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen released a trove of bombshell documents to the press and U.S. lawmakers. As Facebook advances its plans to create the metaverse, Haugen says, harassment is only going to become a more prominent headache for the company.

“The issue of harassment in VR is a huge one,” She said. “There’s going to be whole new art forms of how to harass people that are about plausible deniability.”

For its part, Facebook itself admits that there could be potential problems down the road, and that it needs to do better to anticipate what they will be.

“The tools can always improve,” said Bill Stillwell, the product manager of VR privacy and integrity for Oculus. “Our job isn’t just to identify the tech that works for today, it’s to invent entirely new tools to meet current and future ecosystem needs.”

There were already many reasons not to trust Facebook with the power of creating a virtual reality environment — and reports like this only make it more obvious.

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