Metaverse could harm Facebook: Says Andrew Bosworth

Meta CTO says virtual reality could be a toxic environment

He wanted the company’s metaverse as safe as Disney’s.

Meta chief technology officer (CTO) and former Facebook employee Andrew Bosworth stated that virtual reality may be a toxic environment, particularly for women and minorities in an internal message. The document, which goes back to March, stated that removing mainstream customers from Metaverse would pose an existential threat to Facebook. In the email, Bosworth cautioned that bullying and other undesirable conduct might be amplified in an interactive environment such as VR, which will play a major part in the future metaverse.

The Financial Times, which broke the news first, quoted Bosworth as saying in the message that he wanted the company’s metaverse to be as safe as Disney’s. He did, however, warn that moderating what people say and how they act is “practically impossible on every meaningful scale.” Later, in a blog post, Bosworth noted that technology that opens up new possibilities may also be exploited to do harm, and that users must keep this in mind “as we design, iterate, and bring products to market.”

“Harassment in digital spaces is nothing new, and it’s something we and others in the industry have been working to address for years. That work is ongoing and will likely never be finished. It’s continually evolving, though its importance remains constant. It’s an incredibly daunting task,” he noted.

The social network intends to spend at least $10 billion this year on metaverse-related initiatives and is restructuring its financial reporting to separate revenue from Facebook Reality Labs and its app family. The metaverse will be a social, 3D virtual arena where users may enjoy immersive experiences with others even if they are not physically present.

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