Ready Player Bad: The Future Rise of Extremism and Terrorism in the Metaverse

Procopiou, Andria (2023) Ready Player Bad: The Future Rise of Extremism and Terrorism in the Metaverse. In: 2022 IEEE 2nd International Conference on Intelligent Reality (ICIR), 14-16 December 2022, Piscataway, NJ, USA.

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In the not so distant future, the rise of the metaverse will bring multiple opportunities to people and societies all over the world. Through pioneering technologies integrated, it aims to revolutionise and significantly improve our lives. Unfortunately the metaverse can also be exploited and abused to facilitate the operations of extremists and terrorists as it has already happened in social media and online blogs and forums. Using the metaverse’s virtual reality, A.I., digital twins and avatars to their advantage, the various extremist/terrorist organisations and groups can successfully spread their radical ideologies and propaganda, recruit new members and plan their attacks more effectively and with minimum costs. In the metaverse, such operations will have greater impact since the users will be an actual part of the metaverse and therefore fully immersed in it. In this paper, we aim to provide a better understanding of how extremists and terrorists can exploit the metaverse and its services through the usage of appropriate discussion and relevant examples. Concluding, we give some general direction on what needs to be done to prevent such unfortunate scenarios.

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