Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that the next level of social technology is the metaverse and he believed in it so much that he renamed Facebook's parent company to Meta. But the metaverse, in which users can use apps, has been found to allow explicit materials to be shown to children as young as 13.

A recent BBC report revealed how a researcher posted as a 13 year old to explore the virtual-reality metaverse's apps. What the researcher found was horrifying, as the virtual reality metaverse had in fact exposed children to grooming and rape threats, the report said.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children or NSPCC warned that some apps in Zuckerberg's Metaverse and the virtual reality metaverse in general are "dangerous by design."

The BBC researcher used the app, which has a minimum age requirement of 13, while pretending to be a teen. The reporter then visited virtual reality rooms where avatars were "simulating sex." She was also "shown sex toys and condoms" and even "approached by numerous adult men."

The researcher was able to freely register with a fake account as a 13 year old with no identity checks. While inside the VRChat, users can enter rooms and meet at a virtual McDonald's restaurant or, for others seeking thrills, at a pole-dance or strip club. The researcher was told by one man that avatars can "get naked and do unspeakable things" while other users talked about "erotic role-play."

Now, the NSPCC are urging for immediate improvements in online safety for minors. Head of online child safety policy Andy Burrows said, "It's children being exposed to entirely inappropriate, really incredibly harmful experiences."

According to The Gateway Pundit, Burrows lamented that Big Tech companies such as Zuckerberg's Meta have not learned enough from their mistakes with social media. He argued, "This is a product that is dangerous by design, because of oversight and neglect. We are seeing products rolled out without any suggestion that safety has been considered."

For now, Zuckerberg's Meta has not established tools to allow players to block other users but said it would establish safety improvements "as it learns how people interact in these spaces."

Meanwhile, a safety campaigner who spoke with BBC and asked to remain anonymous said that he had also spent months investigating VRChat. The safety campaigner, who posts videos on YouTube, has spoken to children on the app who said they were "groomed" on the platform and "forced to take part in virtual sex." He added that virtual reality is so immersive that kids actually have to "act out sexual movements."

Catherine Allen of the Limina Immersive consultancy is also working on a report about virtual reality for the Institute of Engineering and Technology and has found "quite traumatic and disturbing" details about the apps. She recounted an incident in which a seven year old girl was using a Meta-owned app, in which she and the child were surrounded by men who joked about raping them. Allen lamented that there's "very little moderation" in virtual reality.