You don’t get to decide: Why Frances Haugen is concerned about Facebook’s metaverse
- Frances Haugen is a 37-year-old data engineer who blew the whistle on some of Facebook’s allegedly shady practices
- Facebook, the company owned by Mark Zuckerberg, was recently rebranded Meta
- Haugen has been speaking to US and European lawmakers about the impact of Facebook’s practices on democracies
Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who shone light on some of the platform’s questionable practices, said that she was “extremely concerned” about the company’s plans to build a “metaverse” owing to privacy issues. Facebook wants to fill our environment with sensors, microphones and other ways of monitoring us, Haugen said speaking to the French parliament Wednesday.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced rebranding of the social media giant to “Meta”. The rebrand includes creating face-to-face using virtual reality. Discussing the potential for abuse, Haugen said, “Let’s imagine you work from home and your employer decides ‘I want to be a metaverse company’.”
“You don’t get to decide if Facebook can spy on you like you can opt out from using Facebook in your personal life,” Haugen added.
Frances Haugen, a former engineer with Facebook, leaked a large number of internal documents that showed the impact the platform had had on democracies and how national political systems had been rendered fragile due to the social media platforms ability to affect public opinion.
The 37-year-old data engineer has been in discussions with American and European lawmakers since she blew the whistle on alleged malpractices within the world’s biggest social media platform. Haugen has insisted that the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company repeatedly chose profit over curtailing toxic content and the company cannot be trusted to change its ways.
Mark Zuckerberg, in turn, has hit back at the whistleblower saying “the argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical.”
Talking to French lawmakers, Haugen also spoke about how she felt about blowing the whistle on a powerful corporation such as Facebook and the kind of impact it had on her life. “Providing psychological support is critical for many whistleblowers,” she said adding that she has been fortunate to move in with her mother last year due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns.