South Korea Solicits Meta’s Help Over Rising Metaverse Sexual Molestation

South Korea Solicits Meta’s Help Over Rising Metaverse Sexual Molestation

The coming of the Metaverse as a unique virtual experience to complement the physical world comes at a cost. Reports of inappropriate sexual behavior in the South Korean Metaverse ecosystem are becoming rife as it looks to address the issue.

Media Regulator Wants Meta’s Input

The country’s media regulatory body met with Meta’s Andy O’Connell to discuss ways to ensure user protection in the virtual world. The latest development arises after several reports in South Korea indicate that minors are exposed to explicit content in the Metaverse. 

Moreover, the number of incidents appears to have increased in Korea recently. The meeting with O’Connell is aimed at protecting users in the digital world.

The meeting was between Ahn Hyoung-hwan, vice chair of the Korea Communication Commission (KCC), and Andy O’Connell, deputy head of Product Policy & Strategy at Meta.

Reports from local news outlets show that the KCC’s vice chairman seeks Meta’s cooperation to assist the media regulatory body in better protecting users. 

Moreover, the two executives explore the transparency of algorithms, their control of digital platforms, and how to equip them to curb the posting of explicit content in the virtual space.

The growing situation of South Korea’s minors being exposed to adult content in the Metaverse spurred the KCC into seeking Meta’s help. In 2021, the Korean government reported an incident where adults blackmailed minors into sending revealing pictures of themselves to receive gaming collectibles.

Other disturbing news revealed that the police had reported incidences of sexual molestation within the metaverse ecosystem.

Sexual harassment targeting minors is rising in the Korean virtual space, with conversations common in the metaverse game rooms.

Meta Introduces Barriers to Curb Sexual Harassment

It appears the South Korean incident is not an isolated one. Meta also experienced several sexual harassment problems on its virtual platform, Horizons Worlds. As a result, Meta is forced to take action by developing barriers to shield users from would-be predators. 

The boundary system is a four-foot distance between users and others not on their in-game friend list.

Industry experts believe that the issue of sexual harassment in the virtual landscape is not surprising to many. The Metaverse is an extension of people’s physical lives and did not shock many in the industry.

Meta’s Horizon Worlds is a VR gaming hosted on the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest 2 gadgets. Critics have heavily slammed the game for its high fees charged to game creators.

Meta has been at the forefront of leading the push for the Metaverse with its massive investments.

After rebranding to Meta last October, the company led the way in investment in the Metaverse by churning out virtual reality devices and other services. However, its stock has plummeted significantly over the past few weeks.

Despite the rising sexual harassment cases in the Metaverse, the virtual landscape is expected to grow exponentially as the years’ pass.

Ifeanyi Egede

Ifeanyi Egede is an experienced and versatile writer and researcher. He has keen interest in blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, Web3, metaverse, fintech and emerging technologies. He has tons of published works both online and in the print media. He has close to a decade of writing experience. When he is not writing, he spends time with his lovely wife and kids.