Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen ‘Extremely Concerned’ by Metaverse

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said on Wednesday she was “extremely concerned” about the company’s plan to create a “Metaverse” – a virtual reality version of the Internet – because of privacy problems.

Haugen’s revelations led to a flurry of bad publicity, meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans late last month to create a digital world where people feel like they are face-to-face using virtual reality technology.

Addressing the French Parliament on Wednesday during his European tour, haugen Said that she was “extremely concerned about the Metaverse.”

meta, formerly Facebook, “wants to fill our environment with sensors, microphones, other ways of monitoring us” and that adoption of the technology by companies would be “super problematic”.

“Let’s imagine you work from home and your employer decides ‘I want to be a Metaverse company’,” she told lawmakers.

“You don’t get to decide whether or not Facebook can spy on you, as you can exclude from using Facebook in your personal life,” he said.

A former Facebook engineer leaked a collection of internal documents to the media that has for weeks criticized the social media giant over its impact on fragile democracies and vulnerable teens.

During his testimony before US and European lawmakers last month, he stressed that Facebook chooses to profit from curbing toxic content and that the company cannot be trusted to change its ways.

Zuckerberg hit back, saying that “the argument that we intentionally promote content that makes people angry for profit is very illogical”.

Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist, also told the French parliament how he faced scrutiny and public exposure since the Wall Street Journal identified himself in early October as the main source of a series of explosive reports.

“Providing psychological support is important for many whistleblowers,” she said, adding that she was lucky to have moved back last year to be with her mother because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“My mom is a priest and I got countless hours of counseling and therapy,” she said.

“Most whistleblowers don’t have that level of support. Making sure there is someone who can train them through the process is very important.”

Meta reported a profit of $9 billion (about Rs 67,074 crore) in the July-September quarter.