Facebook has been under intense scrutiny over the last few weeks, largely due to corporate whistleblower Frances Haugen revealing Facebook’s awareness, and lack of action toward, the harmful nature of its platform. However, Haugen is sounding off alarms again. This time regarding the company’s recent rebranding to Meta Platforms, which she believes could be more harmful than Facebook itself.
In a recent interview with AP News, Haugen discusses how the metaverse will essentially be a more powerful version of typical social media platforms, enabling Meta Platforms to harvest massive amounts of user data. The advanced nature of virtual reality could potentially make the metaverse more addictive than social media, and could create far worse mental health problems for users. As if these problems were enough, the nature of Metaverse platforms could have major effects on user privacy.
Commenting to AP, Haugen stated, “So beyond the fact that these immersive environments are extremely addictive and they encourage people to unplug from the reality we actually live. I’m also worried about it on the level of — the metaverse will require us to put many, many more sensors in our homes and our workplaces,” forcing users to relinquish more of their data and their privacy.
Metaverse platforms are already a topic of executive conversation as a way to stay connected in remote and hybrid environments. If businesses eventually force employees to engage in the metaverse, that also includes the possibility of sharing personal data without their consent.
It is still too early to tell if the metaverse is the future of social networking, or simply a flash-in-the-pan technology, which eventually loses appeal. However, if the metaverse truly is the next big tech innovation, consumers and businesses should seriously consider Haugen’s warning due to the notorious history of Meta Platforms.
Edited by Maurice Nagle