You’re Not Safe With Meta

The possibility of consumers and businesses incurring any peril to personal data is extremely heightened using Meta. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is a technology company that distributes VR headsets for users to connect through.  The company has advised myriads of businesses with their outstanding technology. With Meta’s purchase of Oculus Technologies in 2014, they have been teaming up with Oculus to produce virtual reality headsets for consumers and businesses. Their intentions were pure, we thought. Year by year, Meta’s intentions became more visible. Brought into the public eye. They don’t care about the consumer. They want control.

What makes this evident? It would be unfair if society viewed this company as a threat just because of some political opinions. Politics aside, what this company is doing is purely unethical and is morally wrong considering the future of civilization. Meta is a multi-billion dollar company so they are going to have a strong say in the world as a whole. Although they’ve done some good things in the past, the negativity they have caused is ultimately outweighing the good. 

This damage they’ve caused could have been easily avoided and is mostly a result of their massive data collection through social platforms and more recently, through Virtual Reality. The company collects all different types of data ranging from facial recognition and engagement. Generally, across all Meta-owned platforms, Meta tracks how long the user will be on a certain page. 

How long they look at someone else’s post, and even private messages are tracked for the sake of data collection and money. Meta also collects biometric data which is the recognition of faces. Their AI system called “DeepFace” can recognize faces through photos taken. This data is supposedly used when a photo surfaces of the user online. Meta will be able to see this since it keeps this facial data. While this data is somewhat used for a good cause, it is still notable due to many past data leaks within the Meta database. 

In 2021 hackers hacked into the Meta servers and breached tons of personal information. While it isn’t necessarily the company’s fault, due to the amount of data that they had collected, around 530 million people had their data exposed. 

This wouldn’t be too alarming if Meta only kept harmless information however, Meta kept biometric data, engagement data, and lots of other data that shouldn’t be tracked in the first place. Meta didn’t even alert the users that their data just got breached. They tried to cover up the issue on their own. This shows Meta’s dishonesty with their consumers. So how does Virtual Reality tie into this? 

Virtual Reality is a huge platform where users are brought into a virtual world via VR headsets. These headsets have lenses on the inside which represent sight, and then some sort of headphones to stimulate sound. As time goes on, these headsets are becoming more and more advanced which makes these virtual worlds more immersive and realistic. Oculus in particular is a company that has some of the most advanced technology in terms of VR.

Oculus Technologies was once a kick-starter raising money to start their business. At the time, Oculus was a small business trying to develop VR. Meta (Who was Facebook at the time) saw this and determined that they were going to purchase this company right before the launch of the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift was the first consumer-based headset from Oculus. 

The Rift was groundbreaking at the time and a few years later Oculus released their next line of headsets. These are the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest. These two headsets were the first affordable headsets from Oculus. Each sold at the price of $399. This is where Meta started to put their brand into these headsets. Only a year later the Oculus Quest 2 launched at the cheap price of $299. This is where they started to cross boundaries as they started to require a Facebook account to use the headset. 

This isn’t ridiculous considering that an account is necessary for almost any gaming platform. However, considering Meta’s record with data collection, requiring a Facebook account is just manipulative. Especially considering the amount of data that can be gathered in VR. 

One example of Meta gathering data is the built-in microphone. Meta tracks the built-in microphone in the headset. The Oculus Quest 2 is now being advertised as the Meta Quest 2. What’s interesting about the Meta Quest 2 is its price point. Considering the hardware, the Meta Quest 2 should be around 500 dollars. The processor alone is around 8 cores. The hardware isn’t where the company is making its money. They’re instead getting their money from data and other games on the Oculus store. Meta is already making a ton of money from this platform which makes their plans even more alarming. 

Project Cambria is Meta’s next VR headset coming in 2022. This headset is advertised as a high-end headset with a high-end price tag. Considering that this headset is going to have eye-tracking and body tracking, the data collection can only get worse. The idea of body tracking and eye tracking is going to enhance social interactions in VR. 

These are going to be the most advanced headsets to this date coming out only this year. Meta is moving insanely quickly. The fact that this technology has progressed over such a short amount of time is awesome for VR. VR can be so much more than just some data collection platform. This new headset is really where things will go downhill as this is the first headset where Meta will emphasize the metaverse.

The goal with the metaverse is to eventually create a new way of living. A way of life that everyday activities involve VR, however, this world is different than just a game. Users will “live” within a digital universe. Factors of everyday life will be integrated within it. 

These things consist of virtual real estate being sold, areas to socialize and events with other people will take place, even people will be able to work within the metaverse. What Meta is attempting to do with the Metaverse is very negative and scary. While the idea on paper sounds cool, it is inevitably a bad thing because Meta will have full control. 

The company will own the Metaverse and everything within it. They will filter out anything they want. This altered version of reality will only weaken the consumer and make them more vulnerable to dangers affiliated with Meta’s data collection. Not all data collection is bad and it is debatable whether or not data collection is necessary. 

What Meta is doing is purely wrong and alarming. Consumers deserve to be more aware of Meta and potential dangers that could affect their security. These multi-billion dollar companies are ultimately in it for the money and they aren’t anyone’s friend. No matter how innocent Meta may seem, their intentions are negative and will ultimately affect the future for the worse.