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Metaverse could be an existential threat to Facebook, warns Meta

Metaverse could be an existential threat to Facebook, warns Meta

Bosworth in the memo warned that bullying and overall bad behavior can be worsened in an interactive environment like VR, which will play an important role in the metaverse of the future.

Story highlights
  • The memo, which dates back to March noted that Metaverse would be an existential threat to Facebook.
  • The social network plans to spend at least $10 billion on metaverse-related projects this year and is changing its financial reporting.
  • Meta has pledged $50 million for research into practical and ethical issues around its metaverse.

Meta chief technology officer (CTO) and former Facebook employee Andrew Bosworth in an internal memo had noted that virtual reality can be a toxic environment, especially for women and minorities. The memo, which dates back to March noted that Metaverse would be an existential threat to Facebook if it turned off mainstream customers from the medium entirely. Bosworth in the memo warned that bullying and overall bad behavior can be worsened in an interactive environment like VR, which will play an important role in the metaverse of the future.


Financial Times, which first reported on the memo, quoted Bosworth who told employees in the memo that he wants the company's metaverse to have almost Disney levels of safety. He, however, said moderating what people say and how they act "at any meaningful scale is practically impossible." Bosworth later posted a blog in which noted that technology that opens up new possibilities can also be used to cause harm and that users must be mindful of that "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. Meta has pledged $50 million for research into practical and ethical issues around its metaverse.

He further noted, "We want everyone to feel like they're in control of their VR experience and to feel safe on our platform. Full stop." Bosworth later shared the post on Twitter.

The social network plans to spend at least $10 billion on metaverse-related projects this year and is changing its financial reporting to separate revenue between Facebook Reality Labs and its family of apps. The metaverse will be a social, 3D virtual space where users can share immersive experiences with other people, even when they cannot be together in person. "Of course, there are limitations to what we can do. For example, we can't record everything that happens in VR indefinitely; it would be a violation of people's privacy, and at some point, the headset would run out of memory and power," Bosworth said.

Published on: Nov 15, 2021, 7:19 PM IST
Posted by: BT Siteadmin, Nov 15, 2021, 7:19 PM IST