The internet as a whole is grappling with misinformation, toxicology, and censorship. This is reinforced in countries around the world when social media networks are restricted or even controlled by the government.
This not only harmed the foundations of free speech and collaboration on which the Internet was built upon, but it also disregarded entire populations from being able to participate in global dialogue and understanding.
The early versions of the metaverse have begun to confront similar difficulties, but the metaverse also offers a path to more decentralized web architecture, which might help to alleviate some of these issues. On the legacy Internet, content can be easily tracked, controlled, and censoredbut Web3 might provide a more secure way of authentication and thus enable the creation of truly protected digital speech.
Censorship in the centralized web
The majority of the centralized web is controlled by a few individuals who can manipulate what users see. This has resulted in extensive censorship and control of information, as well as harassment and abuse of vulnerable groups. In several countries, the government restricts or even controls social media networks. This means that people are unable to raise their voices or express their opinions freely.
On October 3-4, MetaBeat will bring together metaverse thought leaders to discuss how metaverse technology will transform the way all industries communicate and conduct business.
China's zero-COVID policy is being censored by social media platforms, search engines, and even individual posts, according to a recent proposal from the Chinese government.
China's handling of the Uyghur minority has sparked the international community's ire. In response, China has banned social media platforms, severely restricted internet access in the Xinjiang area, and used artificial intelligence to monitor and control the Uyghur population.
China isn't the only country that is resentful of its foreign policy decisions. The government is urging internet platforms to censor content and limit user access. Russia has a long history of internet censorship, and its is now reaching new heights.
These are just a few examples of how social media networks are used to control and censor information. The internet's central nature makes it easy for those in power to manipulate what users see and silence dissenting voices.
As a solution, the metaverse
The metaverse has no single definition, but the ultimate aim is to become a community-based, distributed, 3D internet where users may create avatars and interact with one another in digital spaces.
The metaverse is an architecturally more censorship-resistant solution to this problem. Because the information that lies beneath it is much more difficult for authorities to control or censor.
Further, the metaverse can be used to create safe spaces for vulnerable individuals. For example, NFTs may be used as gateways to protected areas where only certain individuals have access. This would enable marginalized groups to interact with one another in a secure environment.
Personal Boundary, a virtual world that includes a four-foot personal space around users' avatars, is well-known for its safety features, including machine detection of unsafe content and stringent chat filters. However, Roblox has not been immune to safety concerns, as there have been instances of children being groomed by extremists on the platform.
Newkinco, a venture builder and consulting company, has developed anitya space, a white-label product that allows brands and influencers to create their own metaverse experiences. Goethe-Institut is a German cultural association active in 158 countries worldwide, and Tales of Us, a multimedia production company, to develop cultural experiences at the intersection of culture, community, and nature.
This is just the start. As the metaverse becomes more popular, it will become a platform for cultural exchange and exchange, leading to a more inclusive and diverse web.
Challenges in the metaverse
The metaverse is not a panacea for the central web's problems. In fact, weve already seen some of the web's worst components play out in virtual worlds.
Griefing is a major issue when users harass or abuse others in digital spaces. This can take the form of flaming, trolling, doxxing, or even virtual assault. This problem has also been present in regular online spaces.
Another issue is the metaverse sentiment in the Wild West. There are no rules or regulations governing what can or cannot be done in virtual worlds. This lack of governance may create a sense of impotence, which can be dangerous for users.
Finally, the metaverse is still very much in its early stages. The technical infrastructure is still being rebuilt, and there are very few killer apps that would make the metaverse essential for users.
The metaverse is a promising solution to the problems of the central web. However, it is still in its initial stages and faces many obstacles.
We must learn from our mistakes and create a safe, secure, and inclusive metaverse for all, including comprehensive safety features, and establishing user guidelines and procedures as the metaverse matures.
Without these measures, the metaverse risks becoming a web echo chamber for the worst aspects. But with them, the metaverse has the potential to become a safe haven for everyone. In theory, it involves discussions between metaverse designers, platform holders, and civil society organizations to create a more inclusive and diverse digital future for everyone.
While these discussions are ongoing, we can all help to create a better metaverse by using existing platforms' safety features, reporting harassment and abuse, and being considerate of others.
Valerias Bangert is a strategy and innovation consultant, the founder of three media companies, and a published author.