The Senators argue that giving teens access to Meta’s VR platform before they are ready could harm their development and put them at risk of physical and psychological harm. They urge Zuckerberg to reconsider Meta’s plans and warn that opening the platform prematurely could have serious consequences.
It is clear that the Reddit Senators are concerned about the potential harm that could come from Meta’s plans to bring teen users onto their virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds. They argue that any strategy to invite young users into a digital space rife with potential harms should not be driven by a goal to maximize profit, but by a concern for their safety and well-being. This stance is admirable and shows serious consideration for the implications of allowing teenagers access to this potentially harmful technology.
As Horizon Worlds tries to navigate the challenges of user onboarding and keeping users safe, it faces critiques for its lack of moderation tools, its youth-focused audience, and its susceptibility to harassment. Though beginner-friendly features like personal boundaries may help mitigate some of these issues on a smaller scale, the platform risks becoming overrun with young people if not managed properly.
Meta published a letter calling on Apple to abandon its new display technology, which it claims is harming users’ eyesight. The company points to studies conducted by independent laboratories that purportedly show the new displays are causing serious damage to the eyes of users. Meta
Meta’s investment in Horizon Worlds indicates its commitment to the future of VR and AR. The company is hoping that by attracting teen users, it will be able to achieve its goal of reaching 150,000 cross-screen users by the end of the year. With so much investment being put into this emerging technology, it will be interesting to see which companies succeed and which fail in creating truly immersive experiences.
Senator Blumenthal and Senator Markey are highly critical of Meta for their past practices with Horizon Worlds. They believe that the company cannot be trusted to keep the game safe for teenage players, and they have referred the issue to regulators. This opposition could dampen Meta’s stock value, as investors may doubt the companys ability to live up to its promises.
Instagram is continuing to look into the impact of social media on the youth, specifically Instagram’s plans for a version of the platform meant for users under 13. The company has also added additional safety tools for users under 16. This comes after several reports that children are using Instagram to post pictures of drugs and other harmful content.
Meta has long been known for its failures to protect children and teens. This letter is the latest in a series of critiques of the organization, and parents hesitate to give it their trust. Meta’s track record includes molestation scandals, neglectful practices, and a lack of accountability.