Last year, Frances Haugen, formerly Facebook product manager, revealed a slew of documents confirming the social media site’s spread of misinformation. Now the Facebook whistler blower is after the company’s Metaverse plans.
The thousands of files brought to light by Haugen show that Facebook spread misinformation about sensitive topics like human trafficking and the Covid-19 vaccine. At the time, Haugen expressed concern that Facebook puts profit before the welfare of its users.
“They’ve made very grandiose promises about how there’s safety-by-design in the metaverse,” the former Facebook product manager told Politico earlier this month. “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.”
Meta Under Fire
Haugen’s whistleblowing is hardly the first scandal for the metaverse pioneer. In February, Meta’s Head of global community development left the company after being caught in an underage sex sting. Additionally, a woman came forward about being virtually gang-raped in Meta’s Horizon Worlds. In response, the company added a personal boundary feature to the platform.
Despite its many controversies, Meta continues to pursue its metaverse goals. However, creating an immersive metaverse experience will require users to install cameras, microphones and sensors in their homes. In turn, this will allow Meta to intrude on users’ privacy and collect more personal data than ever before. Of course, this aligns with Meta’s goal to gather more intel on users to provide more accurate targeted advertising.
“I’m super concerned about how many sensors are involved. When we do the metaverse, we have to put lots more microphones from Facebook; lots more other kinds of sensors into our homes,” Haugen added. “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.”
Not only will users have to worry about Meta collecting private information, but the metaverse platform is also vulnerable to the same misinformation, scams and cyber attacks as those that populate Facebook.