Sexual Assault In Metaverse — Legally, What Can We Do?

What needs to happen, Al-Haddad says, is government regulation around content moderation. In April, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act, one of the first pieces of legislation that addresses illegal and harmful content and requires tech companies to monitor and rapidly take down any hate or face a fine of up to 6% of the company’s global revenue (for Meta, in 2021, this would have amounted to as high as $7 billion). Currently, tech companies in the United States don’t face any similar regulations or accountability, and — according to Carrie Goldberg of victims’ rights law firm C.A. Goldberg, which specializes in online abuse — are “practically immune” to legal liability, because the laws that would make them liable just really don’t exist. And whatever legal statutes are in place are sorely outdated. “[The Communications Decency Act was] created nearly 30 years ago to give burgeoning internet companies some protections against legal liability for content users posts on their platforms,” Goldberg says. This is territory that has no precedent and no laws in place to protect users, explicitly and specifically against digital or virtual sexual assault. “Needless to say, we are in an entirely new world, and the law has not caught up.”  

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