Facebook’s Metaverse plans raise concerns over free speech, privacy rights

Facebook’s Metaverse plans raise concerns over free speech, privacy rights

When Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted the company’s plans last month to build a virtual reality “metaverse” to supplant the internet, he proclaimed that users of this platform will be able to do “almost anything” they could imagine.

Users, for instance, will be able to see concerts with their friends, buy goods and services, or attend business meetings. But many questions still linger about how the company will protect free speech and privacy rights on the platform.

Facebook has been accused of unfairly suppressing one political opinion in favor of another. Mark Grady, a professor of law and economics at UCLA, worries that those problems might become more complicated in the metaverse.

“This seems to be a more ambitious undertaking than what they’re doing now,” Grady told FOX Business. “It seems like this idea of the multiverse just enlarges that problem.”

Amie Stephanovich, executive director of Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, suggested a possible scenario where a user is the victim of an online troll campaign – but instead of nasty words normally seen on social media, the user is targeted by angry avatars yelling at them and the only escape is to switch off the machine.

“We approach that differently – having somebody scream at us than having somebody type at us,” she said. “There is a potential for that harm to be really ramped up.”

Kris Kolo, executive director of the VR/AR association, pointed to current metaverses, like Microsoft’s AltspaceVR and Sensorium, where bullying and hate speech are major concerns…Read more>>