South Korea to regulate the metaverse after violence and sexual harassment with minors

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  • The metaverse has led to several instances of sexual harassment targeting minors and women, and South Korea wants to put this to an end.
  • Elsewhere, Korean Internet giant Naver has launched a $100 million funding round to venture full-on into the metaverse as local interest soars.

The metaverse is here, and while it brings with it a lot of benefits, it also comes with some drawbacks. These include exacerbated violence and sexual harassment targeting even minors. South Korea wants to put an end to this as the sector grows, with the local media regulation agency forming a council to look into how the space can be policed.

Cases of harassment in the metaverse are not new. As CNF reported, the virtual world has presented an opportunity for more aggravated online abuse, with the targets mostly being women and minors. And with companies like Facebook working overtime to ensure that online sensations translate to the physical world, abuse on this virtual space can feel very real.

South Korea is taking action. The Korea Communications Commission has announced a new council whose mandate will center around user protection in the metaverse. The council consists of 30 professionals, pooled from the legal field, media, tech, and industrial management. Aside from finding ways to curb harassment, the council will also look at how to boost inclusivity in the virtual world.

South Korean media has reported extensively on the rise in online abuse, boosted by the rise of a more surreal virtual world in which sensations translate to the physical world much more effectively.

This comes at a time when the metaverse has gained great traction in Korea. The country is already one of the biggest gaming nations, and as such, it has been easy to jump into the metaverse. Some of the country’s biggest companies are investing trillions of won to get an edge on the new in-thing.

Korean Internet giant Naver launches $100M metaverse fund

On Korean companies betting big on the new wave, one of the country’s biggest Internet firms has launched a $100 million fund for metaverse content creators. Naver Group, which operates instant messaging giant Line and selfie app Snow launched the fund through Naver Z, a fully-owned subsidiary.

Naver Z runs Zepeto, a 3D-avatar app among other gaming and social networking experiences. It has been a big hit in Korea, amassing 20 million active monthly users, twice the number from just a year ago. Its registered users are over 290 million.

Speaking to TechCrunch, chief strategy officer Rudy Lee said that the fund will allow the company to diversify the range of metaverse experiences it offers its users. It will take equity stakes in some of the studios that show the most promise and also issue cash rewards to the best creators on its metaverse platform.

Related: Facebook unveils the world’s fastest supercomputer for its metaverse

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