Senators tell Zuckerberg to keep the metaverse an adults-only space

midian182

Posts: 8,793   +110
Staff member
Editor's take: Does Mark Zuckerberg regret his decision to go all-in on the metaverse? In addition to the billions of dollars it's already cost the company and the general apathy from the public, the rise of AI has put a shadow over virtual/augmented reality universes. Now, the metaverse is facing more problems in the form of two Democratic senators who want to stop Meta from introducing teens to its Horizon Worlds VR app.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that in an attempt to draw more users to Horizons Worlds, which is only available to those aged 18 and over, Meta planned to allow users aged 13-17 onto the app, possibly as soon as March.

Two lawmakers unhappy with Meta's plans are Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal. They wrote a letter addressed to Zuckerberg about the report, asking him to halt the plan to lower Horizon World's age limit to 13 in light of the company's record of failing to protect children and teens. The senators also noted a growing body of evidence that points to the threats younger people face in the metaverse.

Back in 2021, leaked documents showed that Facebook (as it was still called then) had spent the last few years examining the detrimental effects Instagram has on younger users' mental health but ignored the findings and kept them secret. "Other reports have documented Meta's failure to stop ads for tobacco, alcohol, and eating disorder content from targeting teens," the letter states.

The senators say that while research into the metaverse's impact on teens is in its early stages, initial findings suggest there are threats such as privacy invasion, manipulation, and psychological damage. The possibility of bullying, harassment, and exposure to sexual content is also mentioned.

The letter concludes with "Reporting suggests your company's push to engage young teens is part of a larger effort to salvage Meta's struggling metaverse practice. Any strategy to invite young users into a digital space rife with potential harms should not be driven by a goal to maximize profit."

Earlier this week, Zuckerberg announced that Meta is building a new top-level product group that will focus on implementing generative AI into its services, enabling "delightful experiences" for users. Some are taking this as a sign that the company is quietly moving the focus away from the metaverse and onto artificial intelligence. Reality Labs, the division behind the metaverse, has lost over $24 billion since 2021 trying to make Zuck's dream a reality, despite many teens showing no interest in the area. Generative AI, meanwhile, has become the next big thing in the tech industry.

Permalink to story.

 

emmzo

Posts: 858   +1,307
They bribed, sry, lobbied everyone, but two senators? Not bad! Also, Oculus 2 is outselling Xbox by far, so, I wouldn`t be that worried for Zuckerberg. I actually think if they forget about the Metaverse nonsense and focus on gaming, Oculus 3 could be a huge success for them.
 

Kotters

Posts: 426   +322
They bribed, sry, lobbied everyone, but two senators? Not bad! Also, Oculus 2 is outselling Xbox by far, so, I wouldn`t be that worried for Zuckerberg. I actually think if they forget about the Metaverse nonsense and focus on gaming, Oculus 3 could be a huge success for them.

The Quest 2 is the 4th and final Oculus headset. What are you talking about?
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,571   +8,869
Zuck needs to give up .... he's had his day in the sunshine, now it's back under the manure pile .....
 

godrilla

Posts: 780   +434
There is a rumor that PSVR2 might make it to the PC to mitigate cost, and should be significantly cheaper than the competition. It seems like the psvr2 might be when VR might make it to the masses in terms of an affordable vr solution.
Oh and AI is becoming the new Buzz word for investors following the fall of blockchain FTX, NFTs, etc. Proof, Nvidia is dedicating 30k gpus for chatgpt and now Meta is using the ai buzz word as well as Microsoft might be incorporating more ai features into Xbox and windows. I believe ai will be used more for data analytics than anything usefu imo.
 

rsmith222

Posts: 154   +43
Oh and AI is becoming the new Buzz word for investors following the fall of blockchain FTX, NFTs, etc.
Knowing I would fail in advance, I made some seriously awesome NFTs anyway, (artistic, not primate drivel, but crass enough to qualify as an NFT) just to say I did it. Of course, by the time they were finished I had missed the bubble by a few months. By the time someone at a certain tech magazine brags that tweets were sold for $200, you know the ship will already have sailed. The euphemism for this is the 'efficient market hypothesis.'

The reason I wrote this is because I had to laugh at your comment because I had completely forgotten about the existence of NFTs. AI, though, is the real deal.
 

godrilla

Posts: 780   +434
Knowing I would fail in advance, I made some seriously awesome NFTs anyway, (artistic, not primate drivel, but crass enough to qualify as an NFT) just to say I did it. Of course, by the time they were finished I had missed the bubble by a few months. By the time someone at a certain tech magazine brags that tweets were sold for $200, you know the ship will already have sailed. The euphemism for this is the 'efficient market hypothesis.'

The reason I wrote this is because I had to laugh at your comment because I had completely forgotten about the existence of NFTs. AI, though, is the real deal.
I know AI is the future. Consumers see it as a useful tool to improve something in their lives. Cronies and monopolies on the other hand will use it to mitigate overhead cost, for consumer data analytics, and persue ai for personal growth opportunity. The term ai is so broad and general and will likely be used for purely marketing for investors and consumers but in reality ai scales from, robotics, robocalls, data analytics, video surveillance analytics, problem solving, Computer graphics, automation in manufacturing, vehicle automation, computer NPC improvement behavior etc. etc.
I personally want to know when game engines will have ai built in to help game development for all the current limitations and brute force computing we have been experiencing till now. I guess if one sneezes they all catch a cold.