On September 19, the South Korean government’s official media regulator met with Meta’s vice president of product policy and strategy, Andy O’Connell, to discuss how to change user protection in the Metaverse.
Safety discussion in Metaverse
According to local media ReportsVice Chairman of the Korea Communications Commission Ahn Hyung-hwan suggested collaborating with Meta to develop safety measures for emerging virtual reality platforms such as the metaverse.
Reports indicate that they also discussed algorithm transparency, combating the spread of illicit information on digital networks.
Meta powers the metaverse for Horizon Worlds, which is powered by virtual reality (VR) technology. The platform represents one of the “Big Tech” companies’ first attempts to develop the metaverse, and so far it has been made available to users in North America and parts of Europe. For its part, South Korea is one of the first countries in the world to commit national resources to create its own reflections.
Growing Concerns About Assault in the Metaverse
With daily life increasingly moving towards digital spaces, many are asking questions about the safety of the metaverse. To reinforce the necessity of such calls, there have been several recent allegations of users being sexually assaulted on the Horizon Worlds platform.
Reports prompted Meta to implement a personal border system, which places a mandatory four-foot space limit between users’ avatars, excluding select friends.
Concerns are also growing in South Korea about the possibility of children being sexually harassed and abused in close proximity. In response to these issues, South Korean authorities set up a commission to investigate user protection in the metaverse, with a particular focus on the issue of sexual harassment targeting minors.
on the flip side
- The South Korean government intends to launch the country’s reverse industry by supporting businesses and creating jobs as part of the “Digital New Deal” – a program to invest in new technologies in the country’s economy.
- South Korea’s investment of $177.1 million is the first investment by a national government in the emerging industry, and represents a cautious first step into the Metaverse.
- Zepeto, the original South Korean metaverse built by a subsidiary of internet giant Naver, Naver Z, claims to have 250 million global users, more than 70% of whom are teenagers.
Why should you care
According to legal experts, effective regulations to deal with abuse in virtual and digital environments have yet to be developed. One important problem that governments face is that the global nature of the Internet complicates law enforcement issues. For this reason, cooperation between technology companies and national governments is essential to developing a safer means of transportation for all.
Read more about South Korea’s work on legislation in the Metaverse region:
South Korea prepares the “Metaverse Industry Promotion Act”
More on the big tech companies turning into the metaverse:
Big Tech Metaverses: Everything you need to know about Meta, Microsoft, Google and Apple