If you’ve been reading recent news, then you have probably heard the word “metaverse” going around over the past month. Metaverse isn’t something new. In fact, the term was coined in 1992 by science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson.
Metaverse is a combination of technologies, especially virtual reality, where users can live in multiple digital realities, also known as 3D environments.
On Oct. 28 of this year, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, said he is transitioning his company to a metaverse within the next five years and renaming the company Meta.
According to a press release, Meta is “announcing a $50 million investment in global research and program partners to ensure these products are developed responsibly.”
The term meta is used to describe something as “transcending,” something Zuckerberg wants to accomplish with his company by taking the internet experience to a more immersive place.
This news was very exciting for many people in the technology industry. Many people see metaverses as the next stage in the development of the internet and online connection. But, this also raises concerns about what this means for the rest of society.
The increase of metaverses can worsen addictions to online platforms, sensory overload and isolation from the real world. Not to mention, all those issues are already occurring with the internet in its current state. Another major problem is the heightened accessibility a company and even your online friends can have to your privacy.
Meta gets nearly all of its money from personalized advertisements. The company making this transition into a metaverse will create a bigger space for more personal information to be collected and be infiltrated at any point.
Despite Meta’s claims of responsible development, it’s important to know the company, formerly known as Facebook, has already had major problems with data collection. Allegations have been made about how the company makes money off of people’s privacy, enough for Zuckerberg to be seated at a Senate hearing.
Where we allocate our privacy affects our personal and physical safety. This movement is inevitable, as Meta is the biggest social media site around the world and controls many other social media platforms.
If you’re someone who uses social media platforms such as Meta, Instagram or any other site, it can be easy to feel as if you have no control over the direction the internet is moving in. But, you do have some power when it comes to protecting your social media privacy.
First, read the terms and conditions. Yes, those three pages you probably just scroll through only to press accept and continue on with your account. If you don’t want to read through all of that tiny print, then take the time to do research and ask questions about actions that are being set in place to ensure your privacy when it comes to any site.
Next, you need to know that all the personal information you put onto a site is stored within that company’s database. What Meta will do is take your data and sell it to third parties. So, consider what information you wouldn’t mind being shared and what you want to keep private. Things about your home address, school, bank information and workplace should be shared with the utmost caution.
Finally, you can install a tracker blocker. This is a tool that can be installed on a laptop and phone that will prevent sites from monitoring what you do and stop companies and their targeted ads from appearing on your account.
Those methods will be helpful to keep in mind, especially as the internet is moving toward being centered around metaverse. Where we input our personal information is important because it means putting trust in any company that ensures it in the first place. Be on the lookout in the next five years because Meta probably won’t be the only site making this big transition.