Just a little more than two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media platform would change its name to Meta, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is already sounding off the alarms.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who leaked thousands of internal documents to the Wall Street Journal and testified against the company before a Senate subcommittee last month, had already previously warned the public of how Facebook was used to spread hate, extremism, and misinformation. Now, she’s saying that the implications of what Meta can bring will be even more detrimental to users online.
She claimed that Meta — an entirely more immersive, virtual world — will be “extremely addictive” as “they encourage people to unplug from the reality we actually live in.”
The new virtual community will allow users to interact completely online, merging digital life with real life. In Meta, people can meet, work, play, and even attend virtual concerts and complete with holograms of Olympic athletes. Users may also utilize virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps and other devices to engage in such activities.
While the prospects may seem exciting, Haugen cautions that it can lead to yielding even more personal data and information.
“In case of workplaces, we don’t get to choose to be in those spaces,” she told The Associated Press. “Like, if your employer decides they’re now a metaverse company, you have to give out way more personal data to a company that’s demonstrated that it lies whenever it’s in its best interests.”
“Facebook should have a transparency plan for the metaverse before they start building all this stuff, because they’ve demonstrated with regard to Facebook that they can hide behind a wall, they keep making unforced errors, they keep making things that prioritize their own profits over our safety,” she said.
Art Daniella Sison