Over the past few months, the metaverse has been gaining steam. It has become a popular topic of conversation among tech enthusiasts. The metaverse allows users to explore a new world through their computers and mobile devices, from virtual concerts to virtual stores.
Recently, Meta’s metaverse app ‘Horizon Worlds’ has come under fire from two US senators, who have written a letter to Mark Zuckerberg expressing their concerns about the app’s ability to endanger young users potentially.
Democratic Senators Reveal Safety Fears
Two Democratic senators penned an open letter to Meta’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, imploring him not to launch the Horizon Worlds metaverse app to youths due to safety worries. This latest development adds to Meta’s puzzle regarding the launch of the metaverse app, with the senators asking for a delay in its launch.
Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal raised concerns about the potential impacts of social media on young people, pointing out that Meta may not be doing enough to defend them from the dangers of online platforms. Hence, they requested that Meta stop their current plans, citing the company’s history of inadequate protection for children and teens and the increasing evidence of risks to younger users in the virtual world.
The Senators raised worries beyond safety, citing research that suggested the utilization of VR could bring about nausea and eyestrain. Previously, Meta has been in the limelight for issues concerning services for kids.
Earlier, its Messenger Kids service had a problem that allowed kids between 6 and 12 to chat with strangers in certain circumstances. However, Meta has yet to release an announcement or comment on the letter from the Senators.
Meta’s Unwavering Commitment And Metaverse Competition
Lawmakers’ recent attack on Meta is unlikely to benefit the social media company, which has already suffered significant financial losses regarding its metaverse initiatives. In the previous year, Meta’s Reality Labs division incurred a loss of $13.7 billion, which caused the company to change its priorities in 2023.
Despite this setback, Meta is still committed to expanding its metaverse offerings and has partnered with the Chinese company Tencent to distribute its Meta Quest VR headset. Meta has also announced plans to create its own AI chatbot and established a high-level AI team to achieve this purpose.
Meanwhile, Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s antitrust chief, says the competition among metaverse companies needs close monitoring from relevant authorities. She stated that it is now appropriate to consider what fair competition would entail in the metaverse.
The EU Commissioner has also expressed similar ideas, asserting at a gathering in Brussels that security must be the priority. Nevertheless, penetrating the metaverse and subsequent expansion is not necessarily as simple as businesses would like.