Amid the scandals of Facebook papers, Facebook Renaming of the company to Meta. The new name was designed to reflect a focus beyond the social network platform Facebook and into the Metaverse – the expansion of the Internet into three-dimensional spaces of virtual reality (VR).
Given the handling of Facebook – or mishandling – In their current social responsibility we should be wary of how much control a single company should have over the potential metaverse. We have the option to be proactive in relation to the construction of social worlds in virtual reality rather than the reactive state we are in in relation to the current social products of Meta.
As a researcher working on social interaction in virtual reality spaces, I have concerns about Facebook’s control of the metaverse. These concerns have guided my decisions when I take courses within. taught VR classroom As part of the VARC-Labor at DePaul University and when I did a virtual reality research program at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
We should all be concerned about how Facebook could and will use the data collected within the metaverse.
When Facebook was first developed, it was part of a collection of social networking sites that were viewed as a frivolous part of social life. At first it seemed the main function of the site was to keep you up with your college roommate’s lunch. However, over time, the website evolved into a place where people would go maintain large amounts of social connections, get involved in community groups, Access to social support, and parts political information (and misinformation) with a broad, networked audience.
Facebook took advantage of a key component of humanity: the social interactions that make up our daily lives. But as the site evolved it became clear that those who were able to think about how it could fundamentally change the way our societies relate to one another could change didn’t take it seriously, became treat it as a passing fad and Use it for citizen surveillance. There was a bug in Administration and regulation of the underlying business model of social network sites.
We are ready to repeat the same mistakes with virtual reality. The current main application of virtual reality are gamesthat are often not taken seriously by politics, except as a scapegoat for violent behavior. The industry and its consumers can sometimes be like one Playground for amateurs.
The future Promised by industry leaders can sometimes appear like little more than snake oil. Virtual reality is a way to interact and communicate in more embodied ways across geographic locations. The hardware and software problems of virtual reality are constantly countered with sophisticated technical solutions. Virtual reality could be the next big leap forward in social interaction. Facebook certainly thinks so.
In Facebooks Vision of the Metavers, it lists an all-encompassing system: There is Horizon Home for social interactions, Quest for Business as a replacement for telephone and video conferencing. Gyms are turning into fitness applications, entertainment is provided through games, and there is immersive educational content. All of this can be accessed by users through the Oculus headset.
I was reluctant to order Oculus products a Facebook account required because I have serious concerns that my students will have to sign their data. I have ethical concerns about losing control of data when using VR in research.
And while the Oculus headset may no longer require a Facebook account, Facebook still seems to be committed to a single user / headset model.
Raw material data
By linking Oculus to a Facebook account, Facebook can view the interaction that takes place within a headset as data from a single user. User data – including who users interact with socially, what they discuss at work, their fitness and entertainment options, their level of education, and more – can be collected, stored, and used to target people for Facebook’s true consumer – marketers. The Metaverse provides a content infrastructure to collect user data and provide tailor-made audiences for marketers.
Policy makers and regulators stood by as Facebook became a major platform for social interaction and political speech. They didn’t put antitrust protection in place as Facebook acquired additional streams of social data by purchasing it Instagram and WhatsApp. Now is the platform deeply intertwined in the social life of many people, and it will be difficult Unravel the society of Facebook.
With virtual reality we still have these possibilities. In order for the Metaverse to really become a part of everyday life, it must be accessible without Facebook or Meta as an intermediary.
Industry associations could work on standards for programming to be headset independent. Antitrust authorities can consider the ramifications of having a company control so many data streams in so many contexts. Social and computer scientists can be consulted to consider how to design virtual worlds affect social relationships and future social movements.
Virtual reality can and should be designed for free and easy movement in virtual spaces rather than controlling access by a single company.
This article by Bree McEwan, Associate Professor, Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology, University of Toronto, is being republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.