If you’ve got kids, you probably know all about Roblox, a gaming platform that essentially allows players to build their own maps and open them to the public. But with that freedom comes responsibility – and griefers. According to the BBC, earlier this month a couple of Roblox players used their avatars to essentially gang rape the avatar of a 7-year-old girl, backed up by screenshots shared by the mother who saw it happening and took action.
Roblox Corp., for its part, said it had “zero tolerance for this behaviour,” stressing its goal to be a safe platform and banning the “bad actors” involved.
The Roblox subreddit has a couple of discussions on the topic; barring some trolls crying clickbait and false flag (seriously), most people seem a bit embarrassed about the incident as it relies on a known exploit of experimental game mechanics that could conceivably be fixed by developers. In the meantime, parents of kids playing the game should tighten their security settings, as wee tots probably shouldn’t be allowed into experimental mode games where this sort of thing is technically possible.
Worth noting here is that this isn’t a new problem whatsoever. Many of our readers will surely be familiar with Jilian Dibbell’s A Rape in Cyberspace, or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society article from 1993 based on the early LambdaMOO community’s grapple with this type of griefing.