Dozens of advocacy groups and child safety experts have called on Meta Platforms to drop plans to allow minors into the new world of virtual reality.
Meta plans to invite teens and young adults to join its Metaverse Horizon Worlds app in the coming months.
But the groups and experts who signed the letter sent Friday to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg argue that minors will face harassment and privacy violations from the virtual reality app, which is only in its early stages.
“The meta must wait for more peer-reviewed research into the potential risks of the Metaverse to determine if it is safe for kids and teens,” the group, led by online safety groups Fairplay, the Center Against Digital Hate, Common Sense, and others, wrote. in the media, including
The letter includes a link to a March report from the Digital Hate Action Center, which states that users under the age of 18 have already experienced adult harassment on the app.
In 100 visits to the most popular world in the Horizon universe, the center’s researchers witnessed 19 cases of abuse, including sexual harassment, by adults against minors.
“Before we make Horizon Worlds accessible to teens, we will have additional safeguards and tools in place to help provide them with an age-appropriate experience,” said Meta spokesman Joe Osborne.
“Quest headsets are intended for use by persons 13 years of age and older, and we encourage parents and guardians to use our parental controls, including app access controls, to help ensure safety.”
Meta has faced widespread criticism over the impact of its products on teen mental health.
In 2021, a Facebook whistleblower accused the company of putting profit over safety and not protecting children, especially teenage girls who spend too much time on Instagram.
Research on this is divided, with some studies concluding that active social media engagement can lead to depression in minors, while others find no correlation.
The signatories of the letter wrote that Meta must forge a new path with its new flagship project in the metaverse.
“If Meta opens the doors of these worlds to minors instead of stopping to protect them, you will prove once again that your company cannot be trusted to protect the interests of young people,” they wrote.
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Post time: Apr-24-2023