On September 20, 2023, UK lawmakers passed a new bill covering internet safety that will also apply to the metaverse. The Online Safety Bill, which was introduced earlier this year, has measures to prevent children from experiencing harm online. The bill empowers Ofcom to levy fines of up to 10% (or up to £18M whichever is higher) of annual turnover for violations.
The bill aims to regulate certain internet services in the UK, including social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. The lawmakers agree that the legislation should cover activities in the metaverse to protect children and vulnerable individuals.
In a significant move to safeguard the digital experiences of children and vulnerable individuals, UK lawmakers have passed the Online Safety Bill on September 20, 2023. This comprehensive piece of legislation, initially introduced earlier in the year, extends its reach to cover activities in the metaverse, ensuring a safer online environment for all.
One of the primary objectives of the Online Safety Bill is to protect children and vulnerable individuals from harm online. With the metaverse becoming an integral part of the digital experience, the bill’s extension to cover these virtual worlds is a commendable effort to ensure that users are shielded from harmful content, cyberbullying, and other online threats.
The bill grants regulatory authority to Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, to enforce compliance with its provisions. Notably, Ofcom is empowered to impose substantial fines up to £18 million, whichever is higher, for violations of the regulatory regime. This strong regulatory framework is intended to incentivize online service providers to prioritize safety and act swiftly against any misconduct on their platforms.
The Online Safety Bill has an extensive scope, encompassing various internet services operating in the UK. Social media giants such as Facebook fall under its purview. By holding these platforms accountable, the legislation seeks to ensure that they implement stringent measures to protect their users, particularly the most vulnerable ones.
In conclusion, the passage of the Online Safety Bill, which now extends its protective measures to the metaverse, is a significant milestone in the realm of digital safety. It reaffirms the UK’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of its citizens in an increasingly interconnected and complex digital world. As other nations contemplate similar legislation, the UK’s approach could serve as a model for shaping a safer and more secure online environment worldwide.