Mark Zuckerberg has been advised by two senators not to allow younger teenagers to use Meta’s Horizon Worlds. In an effort to increase the user base and possibly help explain the billions of dollars Meta has invested in its metaverse operations, reports surfaced in early February that the business might start allowing users between the ages of 13 and 17 to download the app as early as this month. Only adults are presently authorised to play Horizon Worlds.
Senators. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal of the Democratic Party asked Zuckerberg to abandon his intentions to make the programme available to minors. They said in their letter, according to The Wall Street Journal, “We encourage you to suspend this proposal immediately in light of your company’s record of failing to protect children and teens and a growing body of research pointing to hazards to young users in the metaverse.
Two United States senators have penned a letter asking Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to halt a plan to allow young adults to access the firm’s metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds. pic.twitter.com/2qsNA0u2uF
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According to reports, the senators raised a number of issues with Meta, including information on potential risks of the metaverse and Meta’s history of protecting younger users. They mentioned earlier problems like a Messenger Kids glitch that in certain situations let kids between the ages of six and twelve circumvent age restrictions and talk to complete strangers.
The pair highlighted studies from 2021 that were based on Meta’s own research and showed that many kids, particularly females, found Instagram to be a dangerous medium. In response to the reports, Meta stated that the research also demonstrated that some girls had benefits from using Instagram and that the Instagram team has worked hard to address problems like bullying and self-harm to make the platform a safer place. Nevertheless, in response to criticism, Meta shelved plans for an Instagram Kids app.
The senators also highlighted research from Common Sense Media to point out that utilising virtual reality headsets to access metaverse experiences can have negative effects on users’ privacy as well as cause nausea and eye strain. According to research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, users of VRChat, a well-known social platform accessible on Quest headsets, can expose users to abusive conduct every seven minutes.
In response to rumours that it will make Horizon Worlds available to younger users, Meta stated that its Quest headsets are intended for users who are 13 years of age and older. Hence, a spokesman said it made logical to provide younger kids with Horizon Worlds experiences with “age-appropriate tools and protections in place.”
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According to reports, as of January, the number of active monthly users on Horizon has been hovering just above 200,000. According to reports, Meta aspires to reach 500,000 users by the end of June and a million users by the end of the year. The corporation sees younger consumers as the key to assisting it in achieving those goals, according to an internal memo. Moreover, Meta intends to shortly develop Horizon versions for smartphones and the web.
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