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
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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.


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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.

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