Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen rattled cages at the firm last year when she exposed thousands of documents accusing the social media platform of spreading misinformation.
The files revealed sensitive content that ranged from human trafficking to harmful nationalist groups to Covid-19 vaccine misinformation. At the time, she said Facebook “prioritizes profit over the well-being of children and all users.”
Repeating Facebook’s Mistakes
Speaking to Politico on April 12, she said Meta has made “very grandiose promises” about how there is safety by design in the Metaverse before adding:
“But if they don’t commit to transparency and access and other accountability measures, I can imagine just seeing a repeat of all the harms you currently see on Facebook.”
For the company’s Metaverse to really work, it will involve installing intrusive hardware such as sensors, microphones, and cameras in homes and possibly public spaces to gather the data to replicate in the digital world.
If Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse becomes a reality, the amount and type of data the firm can harvest will be mind-boggling. Haugen has reiterated her concerns over privacy and user protection. She stated that the company’s main goal is to create the most detailed picture of its users as possible in order to serve them targeted advertising.
“You don’t really have a choice now on whether or not you want Facebook spying on you at home. We just have to trust the company to do the right thing.”
Companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have already launched “personal assistants” with the sole purpose of getting to know their users better by mining data, all for the benefit of the firm’s bottom line.
The Metaverse takes this a stage further as the users are fully immersed in the virtual realm through the usage of hardware such as VR headsets and gloves.
Beware All Who Enter
According to the New York Post, Zuckerberg has said that Meta plans to let creators sell virtual items in its Metaverse. The catch is that Meta intends to keep a cut of nearly 50%, and that is just the start.
It is clear that the company is betting heavily on greater profits from its foray into the digital world. This will be the worst thing for those using it, they will see more of their online privacy eroded and more of their personal data sold, stolen, or manipulated.
Additionally, their digital devices will be subject to more misinformation, scams, hacking, malware, and phishing attacks as the firm has yet to prevent those on its Web2 social media platform.