Andy O’Connell, Meta’s VP of product policy and strategy, met with South Korea’s official media regulation agency to discuss ways to better protect users in the Metaverse.
For most users, safety is the number one concern when diving into a virtual world. How we handle and protect our personal data is still an evolving issue and for every solution we create, there’s a new problem that pops up.
According to Pew Research Center, roughly 8 out of 10 Americans are worried about their online safety and security. When it comes to the Metaverse, concerns are even bigger because still, most people don’t even understand it.
But some companies and even governments are working on it.
Meta Meets With South Korean Officials
As local media outlets report, Andy O’Connell, VP of product policy and strategy at Meta met with South Korea’s media regulator last week to discuss user safety in the Metaverse.
Ahn Hyoung-hwan, the VC of KCC (Korea Communications Commission) actually contacted Meta to set up the meeting after hearing news of recent personal assaults happening on popular Metaverse platforms.
What Was Discussed During the Meeting?
Anh and O’Connell discussed how to better protect users within the Metaverse, with a focus on three main points:
1. How to deal with user safety issues
2. How to develop policies that will help protect users
3. How to increase transparency between Meta and its users
Currently, Meta operates Horizon Worlds – an increasingly popular Metaverse platform powered by Virtual Reality. The platform allows users to create their own “worlds” without leaving VR.
The platform is available for users in North America and parts of Europe and can only be accessed through the use of Quest VR headsets. However, Meta is currently working on a browser version of the platform that will be available to anyone with a VR headset.
The Incident That Sparked the Meeting
A few incidents of sexual assault have been reported on Horizon Worlds, which has prompted Meta to take action. The company has already adopted a personal boundary system that allows users to play in “safe” mode.
The mode sets an automatic boundary that prevents other avatars coming more than four feet near you. The users can manually set who they allow to get near them without the While this doesn’t guarantee safety, it’s a step in the right direction.
O’Connell also promised to increase transparency between Meta and its users, as well as to develop policies that will help protect users.
Korean Ministry of Science Announcing New Regulations
South Korea’s Ministry of Science also announced that they’ll be working on new rules and regulations that will encourage widespread adoption of the Metaverse. The Ministry is officially moving from imposing traditional video game laws on the Metaverse.
The goal is to create a regulatory environment that will allow businesses to experiment with new technologies and business models while still protecting user safety.
The meeting between O’Connell and Anh is the first step in what could be a long journey to making the Metaverse a safe place for everyone. Hopefully, other companies and governments will follow suit.