As anyone who has been online for more than 5 minutes can tell you, the internet is a wild place. Anonymity can be a powerful drug for some. That’s the focus of the Building Positive Play in the Metaverse panel at GamesBeat Summit 22.

“I think the reason it [concern about harassment] applies to the metaverse, whatever that even means, is right now in web 2.0,” said Justin Davis, cofounder and CEO of Spectrum Labs. “We clearly haven’t gotten that right. In terms of trust and safety and content moderation at any given company, much less at scale across the entire internet.”

A major challenge for any service that involves the public is protecting its users while allowing them to interact. Every day there’s a new story about harassment online. What happens when we all transition to an AR or VR metaverse?

“If you get harassed or get a text message in a platform it’s bad enough, but imagine seeing someone and hearing their voice. Seeing their images. That has a whole different level of psychological impact on humans that I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface on.”


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Making the metaverse safe

Justin Davis of Spectrum Labs speaks at GamesBeat Summit 2022.

Up to this point, we’ve focused on the negative side of the internet. However, a sizeable part of the tech industry works toward keeping people safe online. There are many solutions out there today, and many more coming all the time. The real question becomes not “how safe can we make our space?” but “how safe should we make our space?”

“I think within each of these ecosystems, you wanna have those guardrails up,” said Maura Welch, vice president of marketing for Together Labs. “Where I agree with Justin is when you cross it over to say, let’s build the uber-guardrails for the world it becomes something very different and a little too all encompassing. Because people are different people depending on the circumstances, right? I bet some of you have had places where you act one way and maybe in another place, you act another way. And that’s an okay thing as long as it stays within the bounds of what’s acceptable within that community.”

There’s a fine line between safe and overbearing, but where do we stop? That’s a question we’ll be working on for quite some time to come. For more information on this talk, check out the embedded video.

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