Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

Is Meta creating a “Matrix” that controls humans?

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

Francis Haugen, a well-known “anti-jab” person, is indeed a good player in bombarding Meta. In a recent interview with the media, she said again: the reason for her public scandal is that Facebook (Meta company) promotes hate speech in fragile countries.

The emergence of the Meta Metaverse has not only failed to bring harmony and security to users as Meta CTO Bosworth said, but has instead caused a series of new problems.

Just last month, Francis Haugen was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2022 by Time. Time magazine said of her: “Her courageous act of sharing these documents with regulators and journalists exposed the world to Meta’s insidious way of putting profits over the physical and emotional well-being of its 3 billion users worldwide.” , she has been entangled with Meta for three years.

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

Source: Screenshot of Francis Haugen’s Twitter

She has made clear her dissatisfaction with Facebook founder Zuckerberg and said Facebook will not get better unless Zuckerberg steps down. But for Zuckerberg, who owns 56 percent of the vote, Haugen’s idea is clearly unrealistic.

For Zuckerberg, Meta has formed a massive social empire. In the context of the arrival of the Metaverse outlet, Zuckerberg also got the first key to open the virtual world. But sadly, Meta’s Metaverse isn’t as cool as the Ready Player One movies show.

On the contrary, some ethical and social issues continue to arise. At present, Zuckerberg’s social empire has been questioned by all parties, and Zuckerberg has not formulated substantive rules to constrain this huge virtual world.

Ethical issues frequently arise

Not long ago, a female psychotherapist shared her experience of sexual assault on Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform through a forum.

Within 60 seconds of logging into the platform, the female user was sexually harassed by three or four players with male voices. They “sexually assaulted” her avatar and took pictures. When she tried to escape, the male player yelled at her: “Don’t pretend you’re resisting, go take pictures!”

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

In response to this, a Meta spokesperson said that this was because the player turned off a “safe zone” feature that was turned on by default. But the female user wrote in the article that she was so frightened she froze in place that she didn’t even have time to set up a safety barrier.

One thing worth thinking about, the information revealed by the Meta spokesperson is: Players need to open the “safe zone” function when they go online, otherwise the personal safety of users in the Metaverse cannot be guaranteed. The more worthy of discussion is whether the method of “setting up a safe zone” is a solution to avoid problems and avoid important problems.

In the case of this “sexual assault” incident, the victims are basically women. If female users need to turn on the “safe zone” function to avoid such incidents, it is like asking women to “wrap up on the streets” in the real world. Just like not going out at night”, in the name of “protection” by castrating the legitimate rights and interests of women, this is undoubtedly putting the cart before the horse. Going a step further, even in the virtual world, most users still want to have an experience similar to real life, that is, to have friendly exchanges without “program isolation”.

This kind of thing is not an exception. In November last year, there were also female users who were molested by strangers on Horizon Worlds. The Extended Mind surveyed more than 600 VR users about their social experiences and found that 36% of men and 49% of women experienced sexual harassment.

Although Meta can physically block sexual harassment, without corresponding laws and regulations, users will not be afraid of sexual harassment in virtual space. The void of legislative regulation has become a cloud that haunts the Metaverse. It is obviously not up to Zuckerberg to resolve ethical issues like this in a short period of time.

Perhaps, this is also an important reason why Haugen has always opposed Zuckerberg and Meta.

“With Meta, the company has proven that it can hide behind a wall. They are always making unforced errors, always making things that put their own interests ahead of our safety,” she said.

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

Francis Haugen

As more and more users move from real life to virtual space, their personal information, virtual assets and resources will also be uploaded to the digital cloud, which gives tech giants the opportunity to monopolize the network. Just imagine, when the human economic chain is completely integrated into the Metaverse, technology companies like Meta will lead the virtual world, incurring huge risks. Early Facebook investor Roger McNamee said he doesn’t believe Zuckerberg won’t abuse his power in the Metaverse.

As a result, the scandals that happened on Facebook may be more intensely presented in the Meta Metaverse in another way. In fact, whether it is Facebook or Meta, the scandals of this social empire have never stopped.

Public opinion crisis

Whistleblower Horgan joined Facebook in 2019 and became the company’s product manager, responsible for preventing election interference, including researching how Facebook can be used to spread rumors, incite violence and undermine democracy.

During his work, however, Haugen realized that the company had chosen to put its own profits at public safety and put people’s lives at risk. Here’s a disastrous fact: No one but Facebook knows what’s going on inside the company.

So she left Facebook last May, taking with her a large number of internal company documents. Since then, while exposing the contents of the documents to the media, she submitted the documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Congress, and broke a lot of Facebook’s shady stories in Congress.

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

First, Facebook intentionally amplifies hate by algorithmically displaying controversial content to gain traffic.

Haugen said Facebook found that instilling terror and hatred in its users greatly increased user engagement, so even if it knew what the problem was, the company ignored it. An internal document disclosed by Haugen shows that Facebook’s optimization will only control 3%-5% of hate speech and about 0.6% of violent and incitement content on the platform.And this hate speech and disinformation is affecting society globally.

Second, Facebook seriously damages the mental health of teenagers.

Haugen pointed out that some teenagers are keen to share photos and videos on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, and their long-term show-off and comparison behaviors make them deeply anxious, causing serious psychological problems and even suicide. According to an internal Facebook research report, about 20% of teens said Instagram made them “feel worse” and about 40% said the app made them “feel the need to create the perfect image” and “feel that they are not attractive enough or rich enough. “.

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

In response, Zuckerberg strongly denied Haugen’s allegations, saying the company would not put profits over user safety.Zuckerberg claimed, “Everything we build is safe, safe for the kids, and that’s very important to me.” Only, compared to Haugen’s bloody truth, Zuckerberg’s The response was clearly untenable.

Meta blood loss

Since Zuckerberg’s official entry into the Metaverse, things haven’t been going well for the company.

In February of this year, Meta delivered a 2021 financial report that fell short of market expectations. Data showed that Meta’s Metaverse division lost more than $10 billion in the past year. The release of the financial report triggered a large-scale sell-off in the market. After the market, the stock price plummeted 21%, the largest one-day drop since the company went public in 2012, and its market value evaporated by more than 200 billion US dollars.

On top of that, Meta’s executive team continued to lose blood. So far, the company has cut more than 20 core executives and top AI biologists. In the past two weeks, Meta has lost two executives one after another, one of which is Meta’s “Number Two” and Sheryl Sandberg, who has been working in the company for 14 years.

Violated in the Meta, the ethical issues of the Metaverse emerge

Sheryl Sandberg

On the eve of Sandberg’s departure, Zuckerberg tweeted: “This is the end of an era,” praising Sandberg as an amazing leader, partner and friend.

But the “breakup” of the two may not be as harmonious as it seems. The Financial Times reported that a former Facebook executive claimed that disagreements between the two over content moderation had led to tensions in recent years, with Sandberg favoring more moderation on Facebook and Zuckerberg arguing that the platform should not Be the “Arbiter of Truth”.

After the news of Sandberg’s departure was released, Meta’s stock price fell immediately, closing down 2.58%, evaporating $13.561 billion in market value. From this wave of departures, it can be seen that there have been huge differences within Meta.

For a virtual social empire that is suspended in the real world, from the era of graphic and video to the era of “Metaverse”, greater risks and doubts will be pressed against Zuckerberg and Meta. But objectively speaking, to formulate a set of rules for the virtual world, it is not feasible to rely on Meta alone, let alone hand over the power of formulating rules to Meta, who has the final say in Zuckerberg.

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