Wall Street is pumped about the metaverse. But critics say it’s massively overhyped and will be a regulatory minefield.

“The metaverse” is a very fuzzy term. Broadly, it refers to virtual worlds where people (using avatars) can play games, work, create and trade things, watch virtual concerts, hang out, and more. Some think there’ll be one big metaverse, while others envisage a multitude.

Facebook has pivoted to focus on virtual worlds, having rebranded as Meta in October. Its move sparked a wave of interest among investors worldwide, with Morgan Stanley calling it “the next big theme” in investing

Generation Z, or those aged between 9 and 24, will be the driving force behind adoption of the metaverse, Jefferies’ analysts believe.
But a Harris Poll found only 38% of Gen Zs agree that “the metaverse is the next big thing and will become part of our lives in the next decade.”
“I think that they’re skeptical,” Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at Harris Poll, told Insider.
Rodney said Gen Zs have been cooped up inside throughout the pandemic. “One world has been taken away from them, which is the in-real-life world, [and] they want to get back out.

Zuckerman, who built an early metaverse in the 1990s, said keeping virtual worlds safe has always been a challenge.
Content creators there may come up with beautiful firework displays that spell out, say, “Happy Birthday”. But the academic said it’ll only take 15 minutes before others do the same with hate-filled messages.
Community moderation and enforcement in the metaverse is “going to be a whole new set of problems,” he said.

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