IGF 2022 Town Hall #90 'The New (Meta)Governors': Are there Internet governance-related lessons?

Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (12:00 UTC) - Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (13:00 UTC)
Caucus Room 11

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min


The metaverse, as envisioned by prominent tech moguls in Silicon Valley, will only become a reality in the next decade or so. Nonetheless, some versions of the metaverse exist at least since the early 2000s and others have gained traction over the past couple of years, such as Roblox and Decentraland. Past, present or future, the metaverse is expected to spark a new digital revolution, forever changing the way we socialize and interact online. It presents itself, after all, as the convergence between digital and physical realities. That means that numerous challenges that we face today as a society will, consciously or unconsciously, be replicated (and at times even augmented) in the metaverse. In order to grapple with this new digital reality, ITS Rio will bring together specialists in Internet governance and regulation together with civil society and members of the private sector to discuss the metaverse in a multistakeholder fashion in this IGF 2022 Town Hall session. Our main objective is to from the standpoint of the Global South reflect on and map out the main lessons taught by Internet governance since the late 90s that can (or even should) be applied to the governance of the metaverse. To make the most of our collaborative experience, discussions will focus on three pillars: (1) The importance of diversity, inclusiveness and interoperability, (2) the role of multistakeholder participation to perfect governance models, especially to raise awareness to its intrinsic risks, and, finally, (3) the need for transnational fora to develop a truly global governance of digital arenas. We hope, by the end of the session, to map out principles for a multistakeholder, inclusive and interoperable governance framework for the metaverse.

Building on our experience hosting a hybrid IGF Town Hall session last year and given that this format is intended to be interactive and promote engagement around Internet governance topics and even controversial issues, we propose a two-part structure. First, speakers will share their hands-on experience with Internet governance and regulation and how that translates to the metaverse. This will set the stage for our second phase, when attendees will be asked to voice their thoughts and impressions on Internet governance-related lessons that can or should be applied to the metaverse, focusing on the three pillars described above. As comments emerge, we plan on conducting a number of polls to measure how participants react to specific proposals. Let's say, for instance, that "participant A" suggests that we should consider "principle X" as a guiding governing principle in the metaverse. Following their suggestion, the online moderator will open a poll so other participants can weigh in. To guarantee broad participation of the public, we will also use participatory tools such as Jamboard / Miro, where attendees will be able to input their thoughts and ideas and the moderator will compile them “on the go” during the session. The moderator will also lay out ground rules for interaction through video / voice / on-site in order to ensure equal time of participation as well as diversity of participants. The interaction between speakers will be previously agreed upon in a pre-session meeting organized by the proponents.


Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio)
Institute for Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio), Civil Society, LATAM Centro de Estudios en Tecnología y Sociedad (CETyS), Civil Society, LATAM Eon Resilience Lab, Civil Society, LATAM


Carolina Aguerre, Director at CETYS UDESA, Civil Society, GRULAC

Monica Steffen Guise, Director of Public Policy at Meta, GRULAC

Claudia Del Pozo, Executive Director at Eon Resilience Lab, GRULAC

Onsite Moderator

Janaina Costa - Senior Research Associate - ITS Rio

Online Moderator

Christian Perrone - Head of Law and GovTech - ITS Rio


Nina Desgranges - Research Associate - ITS Rio


8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Targets: Goals 8, 9 and 16. Goal 8: The metaverse is set, according to J.P. Morgan, to foster a market of over one trillion US dollars in the next few years. Second Life, a metaverse that has been around since the early 2000s, had an estimated GDP of 650 million US dollars only in 2021 and the average price of a terrain in Dencentraland jumped from 6 to 12 thousand US dollars. Discussing the governing principles of the metaverse is key to ensuring a sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in this specific market. Goal 9: The governing principles of the metaverse will also have a considerable impact on the development of its infrastructure and must be carefully tailored to promote, instead of quash, innovation. This is a similar debate to the one that has been unfolding since the 90s and culminated in the adoption of safe harbor provisions across the globe. Goal 16: Promoting a safe and healthy metaverse is indispensable to protect the rule of law, both at a national and international level, especially when one considers challenges such as disinformation, hate speech and data protection. Moreover, a balanced and well-designed governance framework is essential to promote transparency, accountability and effectiveness.