The Glaring Issue With Facebook's Safety Bubble Feature in the Metaverse
Is its “safe zone” truly safe?
Common issues women have experienced in the metaverse are verbal abuse and groping — all while other users in the space watched. One user reported that they were only present in the metaverse for an hour before having to deal with sexual assault in the space for the first time. These concerns raise a valid question: “Are there any safety precautions in place to protect users — especially women?”
Well, the metaverse has a “Safe Zone,” but this mode may be leading to more harm than good. Safe Zone creates a bubble of sorts around the user that “seems to invoke the ‘property’ metaphors that are used to refer to women,” shared Le. They continued: “This is similar to discourses that hold women responsible for communicating non-consent and position women as the gatekeepers of sex, which ultimately work to sustain the rape culture.”
Historically, women are held responsible for the actions of others — even when it results in harm to themselves. Apparently, Zuckerberg’s metaverse is no different. So if women are forced to succumb to toxic rape culture as writer Le shared, is it truly possible for the metaverse to have a “safe zone?“