A rare Big Tech failure story over the past almost a decade has been the numerous attempts by various giants to make virtual and/or augmented reality (VR/AR) devices happen.
Considering the nature of the technology in question, and those who are unfortunately in a position to try to implement it (Google, Microsoft, Facebook…) it might actually be good news for the average consumer that they keep failing.
But since we currently live in a tech dystopia, it’s no wonder critics, and critical thinkers, are taking note of any new outings of the sort, like Facebook’s latest VR project, Horizon (coming hot on the heels of its failed Spaces project).
There is for sure the skin-deep appeal geared towards gamers – but on the dark side of the deal, their privacy is potentially invaded and abused in a whole new way.
And while Facebook will not for the life of it admit to being a public square in terms of its social media influence, and ensuing responsibility – when marketing Horizon, the giant is happy to say that players using this tech are no less (or more, really) private than when present in “a public space.”
But that’s not really true – because in Horizon, all users are involuntarily recording each other – apparently, transiently, just for a few minutes.
But why? So that Facebook can check if what’s being said is in violation of its rules. This is not a joke.
“The company says this can happen when one user reports another or when other ‘signals’ are detected, such as several players blocking or muting each other in quick succession,” the website said, and, as if to add insult to injury, added, “users will not be notified when they’re being watched,” Road To VR states.
In short: “The Future will Be Censored.” Horizon is a public space and you can say what you like – but there will be penalties if you actually choose to discuss “perfectly legal topics” that Facebook either doesn’t want, or can’t for whatever reason afford to have on this platform.
So – Facebook Horizon will be just like Facebook – only here the word “public” will be allowed to seep into the definition.
As the report disturbingly points out, what all this might mean is the creation of Facebook’s “proto-metaverse.”
If there’s any consolation, though, it’s that tech giants aren’t really good at this stuff. The scrapyard of failed VR/AR projects is growing every year: Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens, Facebook Spaces.