When Facebook — now Meta — announced its plans to create a so-called “metaverse,” or 3D virtual world, many privacy experts sounded the alarm. After all, the social media giant can barely be trusted with the basics of our data. Now, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is also expressing concern, telling TIME magazine that she is “super scared” about what it could mean for users if the company controls its own virtual environment.
For his part, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stressed that he will “build safety” into the metaverse from the beginning. However, Haugen says that any company with this much power should be subject to oversight no matter what promises it makes.
“I think the question is not whether or not I believe him,” she said. “I believe any technology with that much influence deserves oversight from the public.”
“At a minimum, they should have to tell us what the real harms are,” Haugen continued. “They should also have to listen to us when we articulate harms.”
Of course, Meta has staked its entire future on the creation of the metaverse — that’s one of the reasons the company rebranded in the first place. That means that, no matter how many experts raise concerns, this platform will be created. But if users want to jump into it is another matter entirely.
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