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Metaverse Platforms on Notice After UK Online Child Protection Safety Bill Passes

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • The Online Safety Bill, deemed a potent child protection law, mandates swift action on illicit online content.
  • The Bill enforces age-checking measures on platforms and requires transparent risk assessments for child safety.
  • As the metaverse gains popularity, the Bill serves as a reminder that user safety, especially children's, is paramount.
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The UK’s Online Safety Bill, now on the brink of becoming law, is set to cast a stern gaze on metaverse platforms. This landmark legislation, lauded as the most potent child protection law in a generation, is designed to ensure the online safety of children.

Metaverse platforms will face rigorous scrutiny, with stringent penalties for non-compliance, particularly concerning illegal content.

Metaverse Platforms — ‘What’s Illegal Offline is Illegal Online’

The Bill mandates swift action on illicit content, making social media platforms accountable for the material they host. Non-compliance could result in fines of billions of pounds, with company executives potentially facing prison time. These provisions also extend to the metaverse.

A key aspect of the Bill is the enforcement of age-checking measures. They aim this move at preventing children from accessing harmful and age-inappropriate content.

Read more: Why Do We Need Open Protocols in the Metaverse?

Platforms will also need to publish transparent risk assessments that highlight the potential dangers children might encounter.

“The Online Safety Bill is a game-changing piece of legislation,” stated Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan. She continued:

“Our common-sense approach will deliver a better future for British people, by making sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online.”

Most parents say their child's internet habits concern them. Source: SafeWise
Most parents say their child’s internet habits concern them. Source: SafeWise

Growing Popularity Equals Growing Scrutiny

The Bill’s passage comes at a time when the metaverse is under scrutiny from global regulators. EU Commissioner Yvo Volman recently emphasized the need for metaverse regulations to prevent discrimination and protect user privacy.

Highlighting the EU’s focus on user safety in the metaverse, Volman said:

“We need to get it right from the start.”

The Online Safety Bill, with its zero-tolerance approach to protecting children, is a significant step forward in the quest to make the internet a safer space. As the metaverse continues to evolve, this legislation serves as a critical reminder that the safety of users, particularly children, must remain the top priority.

In the words of NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless,

“Tech companies can now seize the opportunity to embrace safety by design.”

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