Tech firms need “moral compass” over children’s safety in metaverse, warns UK commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner for England has criticised Meta and said tech companies need to get a “moral compass”, following concerns about inappropriate content in the virtual world.

Dame Rachel de Souza said she was “really horrified” after a BBC report revealed that a metaverse app let young children into virtual strip clubs in which sex was simulated and adults could interact with them.

The app in question is available on the app store of Facebook’s Meta Quest virtual reality headset.

The commissioner told BBC Breakfast that tech companies must make online spaces safer for children.

“I’m really concerned that Meta hasn’t made their metaverse safe by design – we have an Age Appropriate Design Code – and I expected better of them,” she said.

“Are you telling me that Mark Zuckerberg, with all his fantastic engineers and ability to create this, can’t keep children safe?

“That’s my challenge to the social media companies and they should be stepping up now.”

READ MORE: The top 5 high fashion brands embracing the metaverse

Dame Rachel also argued that more age verification tools are necessary to keep children safe online.

She continued: “I’ve been bringing the tech companies in to meet with me to get them to act more quickly and ensure that children can be safe online – they need to be as safe online as they are offline – and if I was a parent watching this, I’d be really worried,” she said, adding that young people have told her they have encountered inappropriate content online.”

“I’ve been bringing the tech companies in to meet with me to get them to act more quickly and ensure that children can be safe online – they need to be as safe online as they are offline – and if I was a parent watching this, I’d be really worried,” she said, adding that young people have told her they have encountered inappropriate content online.

“But in terms of the (social media) companies, they need to do more, they need to step up. We’re constantly pushing them on this, the legislation hopefully will make a real difference.

Augmented & Virtual RealityBig TechNews

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