Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

A metaverse is a network of 3 D virtual worlds focused on social connection.

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

Editor: The world of the future may be at hand. Like other new technologies the potential is great, the threat terrifying. The development of the metaverse should put us all on high alert for the nearly inevitable privacy abuses, misinformation campaigns,  and unprecedented targeting.

By Joseph Wales

A New Name

In late 2021, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta as the parent company to Instagram and Facebook. This move left many of us in the dark; not understanding what Meta is and the future direction of the company. Since the announcement it has emerged that the main idea behind Meta is developing a 100% virtual world with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) enhancements. A world where our interactions will be more digital than physical. The technology growth rate is at an all-time high. Most believe that the tech gurus have more power than they deserve and legal restrictions are necessary. Before we go into the nitty-gritty details, let’s look at what metaverse is.

What Is The Metaverse?

As mentioned above, think of the metaverse as a virtual universe. The metaverse combines numerous technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and eye-tracking. These technologies combine to create the ultimate virtual experience. Now might be a good time to read or watch “Ready Player One.” It is a story set in 2045, where all people turn to VR to escape the real world. The feature could help you get a rough idea of how a metaverse might look.

What Is Inside The Metaverse?

The metaverse is usually digital assets, 3D avatars, games, and businesses. Each metaverse can have their virtual economy. There are endless activities to engage in while in the metaverse. You could meet friends, join virtual events, host business meetings, monetize your creations, and so on. The metaverse closely resembles the real world. Most have their own economies and accept virtual currency. For instance, Cryptoxles, a metaverse, accepts ETH, while Decentraland uses their original currency, MANA. The only significant difference is that you can travel the world, go to the store, climb Mt. Everest, all from your home’s comfort. Access to the metaverse is via an VR headset.

So, Should We Be Worried About The Metaverse?

In 2018 Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on matters of privacy and transparency at Facebook. He hid behind the guise of ‘free speech,’ using it to explain why political misinformation was allowed on the popular Facebook platform. Fast forward to 2021 when whistleblower, Frances Haugen told Congress and the American people that Facebook has intentionally misled the public on the company’s progress against hate speech, violence, and misinformation.

Questions Abound

Now, many skeptics are questioning what Zuckerberg plans to achieve with the metaverse. He is making a huge financial investment to what end? What are the metaverse’s potential effect on politics and even how we live? Meta encompasses Instagram, Facebook, Oculus, and WhatsApp. These are some of the leading communication and interactive platforms on the globe. Other companies such as Microsoft and Google are working closely with Meta to help provide the best virtual reality experience.

Facebook And The Metaverse

When it comes to disruptive technologies, often the pioneers end up on top. There are concerns that the tech giants will monopolize the metaverse instead of fulfilling the famous utopian vision of the metaverse powered by a decentralized ecosystem. Although Meta is still in its infancy, it’s crucial to highlight the issues big tech poses before they become irreversible. A main element of the metaverse is mixed reality (MR). MR is the blend of the real and digital worlds by employing augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. Ultimately, the blend could become so immersive and pervasive that people’s real and virtual lives may become indistinguishable and intertwined. Consequently, in case this happens, whoever will be at the helm of metaverse could control a substantial part of reality.

A Privacy Nightmare

As mentioned above, Facebook’s poor privacy practices have long been an issue of concern. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal of 2018 is the perfect example. With Meta’s vast data access, privacy concerns will be a nightmare. After purchasing Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta has one of the biggest databases of personally identifying information of any company. MR technologies have the most data extractive and intrusive tech gadgets around. The current MR gadgets are fitted with hand, eye, face, and body tracking technologies. Meta could gather personal data to estimate how you talk, walk, think, physical characteristics, and more intrusive details on you. Perhaps even more frightening because of  Meta’s has a poor history of transparency.

Another Digital Addiction For Gen Z

It has been evident that social media can be addictive, especially for teenagers and other young users. It’s already an issue of concern when it comes to mental health. As society gets immersed in the digital environment, it could become detached from reality. Meta is a major platform in allowing this to happen. Meta is looking for more ways to hook young users to maintain its revenue. As long as it’s making money, anything goes with Meta (Zuckerberg). The metaverse is designed to be significantly more addictive and immersive internet iteration. Intentionally addictive, should raise serious concerns, particularly with impressionable young users. The damaging psychological effects of social media on the young are still under investigation.

A Dangerous Monopoly

Already, the metaverse enjoys a powerful monopoly over digital social life. It’s virtually impossible to have a digital social presence without using any of Meta’s social media platforms. The social life possibilities promised will be put in the hands of a single corporation. This could spell the death of independent innovation within Meta while also strangling competition. Meta’s primary business strategy is scaling and muscling out competitors. After failing to buy Snapchat for 3 billion dollars, Zuckerberg copied Snapchat features, bought Whatsapp and Instagram. Meta intentionally developed Instagram Reels to limit the growth of Tik Tok.


While VR and AR has been around for years now, Meta promises to change our social interactions forever. Most of us are both scared and hopeful of the developing metaverse (or MetaVerse), but, it’s clear we’ll have to wait and see.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.