Naver Z Corp., the metaverse subsidiary of South Korean internet giant Naver that operates the Zepeto metaverse, announced its partnership with INHOPE to protect youth from sexual abuse and exploitation on the virtual platform.
See related article: South Korea struggles to prevent sexual harassment of minors in the metaverse
With the partnership, Naver Z and INHOPE will heighten monitoring technology and develop a reporting hotline in an attempt to eradicate sex abuse or sexually exploitative material on the Zepeto metaverse, according to Naver Z’s press release.
INHOPE is a global network of hotlines fighting the spread of online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and is joined by 50 hotlines across 46 countries, according to its official website. It is officially sponsored by Google, Meta, TikTok, Interpol and others.
Naver Z has previously partnered with global online safety organizations such as Tech Coalition, ConnectSafely and TSPA (Trust and Safety Professional Association) to prevent sexual crimes against minors. With ConnectSafely, Naver Z developed safety guidelines for parents and guardians of underage users of Zepeto.
Since last year, there have been several reports of sexual abuse cases stemming from the metaverse in South Korea. Last month it was revealed that a Korean man in his 30s was sentenced to four years in prison for producing sexually exploitative content involving minors he lured on the metaverse.
In June, a lawmaker for the opposition Democratic Party, Shin Hyun-young, spearheaded a proposal to sanction sexual offenses in the metaverse.
Naver Z’s Zepeto metaverse has over 20 million monthly active users (MAU), especially popular among teenagers in different parts of Asia.
See related article: S.Korean man sentenced to four years for sexual abuse in metaverse