UK Just Passed an Online Safety Bill That Will Apply to the Metaverse

The bill requires companies to assess the likelihood that children will encounter harmful content in virtual worlds and have measures in place to mitigate such risks.

AccessTimeIconSep 20, 2023 at 10:05 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 20, 2023 at 11:42 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

U.K. lawmakers on Tuesday passed a new bill covering internet safety that will also apply to the metaverse.

The Online Safety Bill, introduced last March, includes requirements for companies to assess the likelihood of clients encountering illegal content and of children encountering content that could be harmful to them. Companies must also come up with ways to mitigate these risks, a requirement that is expected to boost both freedom and safety online, according to a government press release.

As the metaverse – a collection of virtual worlds – grows, thanks in part to Facebook's grand rebranding to Meta, U.K. policymakers have viewed it necessary that the Online Safety Bill applies to virtual spaces.

“The metaverse is in scope of the bill, which, as noble Lords know, has been designed to be technology neutral and future-proofed to ensure that it keeps pace with emerging technologies,” Lord Stephen Parkinson, a member of the Parliament's upper house and minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said during a July debate on the bill.

It will now need to be approved by King Charles and will come into force immediately unless a later date is set.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.