No self-regulation for metaverses in UK

Despite their limitations and limitations, the metaverses must comply with the rules of the upcoming Online Safety Bill, according to Melanie Dawes, chief executive of media regulation. of United Kingdom Ofcom.

Speaking at a London event on Tuesday hosted by the policy consultancy Global Counsel, Dawes explained that self-regulation of the metaverse would not be allowed under UK internet privacy laws, but failed. levels under the control of the future path. proved a controversial matter.

“I don’t know how to really see that ‘self-regulation,’ to be honest, from a UK perspective,” Dawes said. “If you have young people in an environment where a user has done something like a bill, then it will be caught by the Bill Safety Online.”

The Bill

The Online Safety Bill, currently in the House of Commons, was introduced by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), and in its own words, “imposes obligations of protection to regulated providers of user-to-user services and regulated search services and requires OFCOM to issue codes of practice relating to any of those activities.

In particular, it creates new rules for businesses that host user-generated content, requiring them to disclose legal content online and, in the case of platforms frequented by children, “legal but evil,” popular examples of self-harm, murder, and problem eating.

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The bill is closely related to this last point, as it was created in response to the death of Molly Russell, a UK teenager who took her own life after being exposed to posts about the murder on Instagram. In September, a coroner’s inquest found that information on social media “more than minimally contributed” to his death – a verdict.

If the bill goes ahead, as expected, social media sites, engines, forums and email programs, online games, cloud storage, and more will be affected. Many websites have their own rules and guidelines.

Virtual reality (VR) worlds, or metaverses, are not mentioned in the bill. However, in a statement by its authors, they noted that “this code captures all the services that enable users to interact online – from websites and apps to the metaverse and beyond. The services available to children must protect them from harm or face significant penalties.”

These fines for non-compliance can be up to 10% of the global annual revenue of the ‘offending’ company/platform. Apart from the punishment, the bill leaves for the prosecution of senior technical officials.

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The metaverse

Before Descartes thought about the nature of reality in the 17th century, ideas about virtual worlds were rife. However, the necessities of the way the legal people are managed are not what they think until now, with the emergence of virtual worlds like the metaverse.

The most prominent proponent of this new form of reality is the driving force behind the metaverse, Meta (NASDAQ: META ) (formerly Facebook), and the company is investing heavily in its global network to like the future of digital communication, in danger. of his property.

Never left the front pages for long, Meta, just last month before Congress defined how to monitor real estate scams, reported a loss of $15 billion from the beginning of 2021, based on metaverse research and development.


With some of the world’s richest companies, Meta and Microsoft as well, pouring money into VR and the metaverses, it’s no surprise that lawmakers are starting to take stress.

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In her speech, Ofcom’s director Melanie Dawes made a comparison between VR worlds and more ‘traditional’ media companies while acknowledging “some differences” between them. He highlighted the immersive nature of VR services, saying, “I think things like metaverses are adding to that mix.” ‘Intensity’ is not necessarily bad in and of itself, it depends a lot on the context, but Dawes’s more obvious concern is the difficulty of knowing what a child is getting at. They are a headset and how to make sure ‘t something bad.

That the metaverse may be more dangerous than traditional social media is, at this point, an untested theory. What is known is that when the real worlds fall under the ‘protection’ of the UK Online Safety Bill, sites like the metaverse must fall in line or face the Ofcom is furious.

Note: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, Masters of the Metaverse

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