To: Monika Bickert, VP of Content Policy at Meta
From: Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate; and our supporters
Dear Ms. Bickert:
I am writing to you to alert you to potential criminal activity taking place on one of Meta’s products so that you may take appropriate action in alerting and cooperating with law enforcement.
I feel compelled to report directly to you a compilation of the abusive content our researchers encountered because in the 51 instances that we previously reported harassing or abusive conduct, none were acknowledged by Meta in any way through the reporting mechanism. We have no way of knowing if your company intends to act on any of the perpetrators, some of whom may be guilty of online abuse against minors.
Over the past month, CCDH researchers studied VR Chat, the most reviewed social app in Meta’s VR app store, and found that users, including minors, are exposed to abusive behaviour every seven minutes. Our researchers identified 100 potential violations of Meta’s stated policies for VR in 11 hours and 30 minutes of recordings of user behaviour in the app.
Abusive behaviour exposed by the recordings includes:
Minors being exposed to graphic sexual content
Bullying, harassment and abuse of other users, including minors
Minors being groomed to repeat racist slurs and extremist talking points
Threats of violence and content mocking the 9/11 terror attacks
Only 51 incidents could be reported to Meta using your web form created for this purpose, as your platform refuses to accept reports of policy violations if it cannot match them to a username in its database. None of the 51 reports of abusive behaviour, including sexual harassment of minors, were acknowledged by Meta in any way. This is extremely concerning to us, as I am sure it will be to you.
I would greatly appreciate a response and indication of Meta’s intended course of action in these instances we have brought to your attention as well as what is obviously rampantly occurring online abuse and harm to children on your products.
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