Facebook whistleblower warns of metaverse safety concerns

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen warned that the social media platform’s shift to developing a virtual reality world, known as “metaverse,” poses new safety concerns. 

Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook who leaked internal company documents last month, detailed her concerns in an interview with The Associated Press published Tuesday. 

“So beyond the fact that these immersive environments are extremely addictive and they encourage people to unplug from the reality we actually live,” she told the AP, “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,” and relinquish more data and privacy.

Haugen said Facebook, now under parent company Meta, has not indicated through past behavior that they will be transparent through the shift to the metaverse. 

“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.

Haugen has been testifying publicly, in the U.S. and Europe, since coming forward as the whistleblower behind the leaked documents, which she first sent to the Wall Street Journal

After the leaks, Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Did Democrats misread voters’ 2020 call for change? Clyburn blames polarization on ‘the advent of social media’ To avoid virtual anarchy, we must move cautiously and fix things MORE announced the company will be shifting to the brand name Meta to reflect its longterm focus on the metaverse. But the company has denied that the change was announced because of the onslaught of criticism from the leaks. 

The social media giant has also pushed back on Haugen’s comments and the leaked documents, arguing that the internal research leaked in documents is being mischaracterized. 

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