As innovations create seemingly endless opportunities, we face new risks. That is especially true regarding the metaverse, a technology being implemented much faster than the laws that regulate it. So, where does that leave compliance?
First, why worry about the metaverse? Because Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have already created their own virtual worlds to gain a competitive edge and explore new sources of revenue. Other companies won’t be far behind.
Gartner estimates that 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in a metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, or entertainment by 2026.
So, are corporations preparing to implement compliance programs in their virtual world? How do they ensure virtual interactions do not violate local, national, and international laws? And if that is the case, which jurisdiction will enforce the law?
There are still few definitive answers. But one thing is certain: Today is when corporations must begin to work on an action plan to prevent becoming the “poster child” of rampant VR corruption and unethical behavior.
Here are three steps for companies looking to include the metaverse in their business plan:
Don’t be left behind. Compliance officers must make time in their busy schedules to learn how the metaverse works. Although this technology is constantly emerging and changing, it is impossible to ignore. Unless compliance officers understand how this technology facilitates interaction between users and members of their companies, they will not know the dangers lurking on this platform.
Talk about compliance in the metaverse. It is important to talk with professionals in the same field about the problems and possible solutions they have developed to promote compliance in the metaverse.
Compliance officers benefit when they create support groups with their peers to learn from each other what opportunities and disadvantages they foresee, how the risks of the real world can be transferred to this space that is primarily a social experience, and how to anticipate those risks.
Many organizations in the compliance field facilitate these informal peer-to-peer meetings to grow professionally together based on their own experiences.
Create awareness. When the boards of directors and CEOs of companies begin to think about developing their presence in the metaverse to create a new source of revenue, compliance officers must be involved in those conversations. They must sit at the table with the decision-makers to analyze the compliance risks in each step of the platform’s development.
As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, the metaverse helps us “embed the real world into computing, bringing real presence to any digital space.” However, he stresses that the most important thing is that “we are able to bring our humanity with us and choose how we want to experience this world and who we want to interact with.”
I dare to add to those words that in addition to “humanity,” companies must bring to the metaverse a deep sense of compliance to continue with the same ethical behavior they already promote in their “real world” operations.
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