US Senators Oppose Meta’s Metaverse Plan To Target Teens With Horizon Worlds
Meta is encountering further challenges regarding its metaverse aspirations, as Democratic senators are urging the company not to launch Horizon Worlds for teenagers. According to a Wall Street Journal report, two Democratic senators have written a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting a suspension of the project.
Senators Cite Concerns For Teenager’s Safety
Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are concerned about the well-known impact of social media on young people. They suggest that Meta has not taken sufficient measures to safeguard minors from the consequences of online social platforms.
In their letter, they state, “we strongly urge you to pause your plan immediately, given your company’s track record of failing to safeguard children and teenagers and the increasing amount of evidence indicating potential harm to young users in the metaverse.” Meanwhile, the senators expressed safety concerns and highlighted research suggesting that VR use may result in eye strain and nausea.
Meta has previously faced scrutiny for problems related to services targeted at children. For example, a glitch in the Messenger Kids platform enabled children aged 6 to 12 to converse with strangers on certain occasions. In addition, the technology behemoth has previously received backlash for its Horizon Worlds metaverse application.
There have been accounts of people behaving inappropriately. Also, the company has not issued any statements or remarks.
The most recent criticism from legislators is likely to harm the social media conglomerate, which has already suffered significant setbacks due to its foray into the metaverse. Last year, its Reality Labs division incurred a loss of $13.7 billion.
EU Commissioner Highlights Need For Rules In The Metaverse
Nevertheless, despite these setbacks, the company is pressing forward to expand its metaverse offerings. Recently, it agreed with Chinese company Tencent to expand its Meta Quest VR headset into the Chinese market.
The company also revealed plans to develop its AI chatbot and established a high-level AI team for that specific purpose. Despite Meta’s efforts to enhance safety in the metaverse, no laws governing activities in the virtual world exist.
Meanwhile, regulatory authorities have become more attentive to this developing section. The EU antitrust head has indicated that competition within it requires careful examination.
Also, the European Commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, said, “it is now time for us to consider what would stand as a healthy competition in the metaverse.” Additionally, the EU commissioner expressed similar views, emphasizing safety as the top priority in regulations during a Brussels event.
Nevertheless, corporations should not expect breaking into the metaverse space and experiencing subsequent growth to be a simple and direct process.
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