Swastika sparks debate about freedom of expression2 min read
Less than a week ago, the sales phase for virtual plots ended in Shiba Inu Metaverse, in which properties changed hands for sometimes a lot of money. A few hours before the end of the auction, members of the associated Discord channel noticed that a user was buying land in a way that the lots combined to form a swastika at the end. This was recognizable because the user changed the color of the respective plots of land from gray to black after purchasing them – and the Nazi symbol gradually became visible.
“We do not condone hate speech, signs of intolerance, or bigotry (through words, actions, imagery, etc.)” read a statement released by Shiba Inu’s Metaverse team in the wake of the swastika property purchase breaking news. They blacklisted the wallet associated with the incident shortly thereafter. As a result, the user behind this wallet can no longer participate in what is happening in the metaverse.
The @ShibTheMV account also tweeted an image with supplemental guidelines and urged people to read them:
However, some users see the restrictions as a threat to the decentralization of the project.
This is a step towards centralization. I don’t think anyone should draw swastikas, but that’s a lot of power in a decentralized system.
Discord user: @hotboy
But the right to freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Restrictions are possible if applicable laws are violated. For example, swastikas, including in Germany, do not fall under the protection of freedom of expression. The Council of Europe writes in a press release on this: “Freedom of expression ends where hatred begins.”
Away from the debate about the Metaverse’s decentralization, another user worries about the future valuation of his properties that were near the swastika:
That lowers the value of our land. 99.99 percent of people will only see it as a hate symbol.
Discord user: @Crypto_Vilian
Strong sign against the right
However, the majority of the community clearly positions itself on the side of the Metaverse developers and does not see hate speech as part of free speech. According to the tenor of the community, even a decentralized metaverse should not offer any space for it. They sent a strong signal against the right by buying up land around the swastika: the swastika became a window.