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The metaverse and use of immersive technologies dominate conversation around the future of the social internet and of society. Excitement around the metaverse is well-placed; this immersive, interconnected landscape could transform the way we socialise, entertain ourselves and work.
This paper argues that, while the metaverse provides a fertile ground for innovation, regulators can learn lessons from the commercial and consumer harms experienced on social media and in the online games that form proto-metaverses.
These harms could abound on the metaverse without regulation around interoperability, digital assets, data, reporting and child protection. Failure to understand how harms on social media could be replicated and even exacerbated by the immersive nature of the metaverse could risk financial, commercial and societal consequences.
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