• Two US senators have asked Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc., to cease plans to release its Horizon Worlds metaverse app to teenagers.
• The senators cited Meta’s record of flawed social media platforms for children that have failed to protect them from inappropriate content.
• They asked Zuckerberg to halt the plans as they believe it will expose teenagers to potential threats in the metaverse.
Senators Ask Mark Zuckerberg To Halt Plans For Teenagers
Two United States senators have asked Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc., to cease plans to release its Horizon Worlds metaverse app to teenagers. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the senators sent a letter to the CEO, insisting that Meta stop the plans immediately as the release could contain the same flaws as their Instagram and Messenger apps for kids.
Meta Launched Horizon In December
Horizon is a metaverse application that gives users access to virtual worlds and avatars. Launched last December, the platform aims to attract 500,000 monthly active users in the first half of 2023. As of January, Horizon had just over 200,000 monthly active users aged 18 and above.
Meta Planned To Open Horizon To Teens Aged 13-17
To attain their goal, Meta decided in February to open Horizon up for those aged 13-17 later this month. However, Senators Markey and Blumenthal believe such a decision comes with risks of exposing teenagers to inappropriate content and they have now asked Zuckerberg to halt such plans immediately.
Meta Has Failed To Protect Kids From Inappropriate Content
The senators cited a record of Meta’s inability so far in protecting their young-aged target audience from inappropriate content on other platforms like Instagram and Messenger. This has led them into believing that opening up Horizon Worlds would be similarly dangerous for teens online if adequate protection isn’t put in place beforehand.
In conclusion, two US senators have urged Mark Zuckerberg not continue with his plan on releasing his metaverse app „Horizon Worlds“ due due concerns about inadequate protection against inappropriate content being present on these platforms geared towards teens specifically