Can we create a moral metaverse?

In the increasingly lifelike worlds of VR, users are experiencing hate speech and sexual harassment. How should these lawless spaces be governed?

Psychotherapist Nina Jane Patel had been on Facebook’s Horizon Venues for less than a minute when her avatar was mobbed by a group of males. The attackers proceeded to “virtually gang-rape” her character, snapping in-game pictures as mementos. Patel froze in shock before desperately trying to free her virtual self – whom she had styled to resemble her real-life blond hair, freckles and business casual attire.

“Don’t pretend you didn’t love it,” the human voices of the attackers jeered through her headset as she ran away, “go rub yourself off to the photo.”

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