Data collection is the purpose of all monetized online platforms. Services like Facebook harvest your likes, dislikes, age and gender and sell them all to advertisers in order to make profit. Any website with cookies does exactly the same thing. However, with the advent of Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse, data collection is only going to get worse.
Why Zuckerberg's Metaverse will collect more data than ever
As third-party cookies begin to be phased out, mega-corporations like Facebook are looking for ways to track users independently. That's why The Metaverse makes so much sense for Facebook — sorry, Meta. If the entirety of Internet 2.0 is run through a single company, that company can track everything.
This move isn't unprecedented for Meta. Before its name change, the company acquired over 90 companies. With services like Oculus, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Gaming and Facebook Marketplace already under its belt, Meta has more information on its userbase than most. But what about when everything you do goes through its services?
Zuckerberg's Metaverse wants everyone to work, chat, play and shop through its virtual worlds. With facial tracking tech inside its next-gen VR headset, Meta can throw you an advertisement and see your real-time reaction to it, how fast it annoys you and if it interests you or not.
The hardware that Meta wants to use and the systems it wants to use with them combine for the largest data harvesting a product could ever accomplish. And with Facebook behind it — the company that targeted preteen girls and was behind the biggest data leak ever — you can be damn sure they'll use it.
So, what can we do?
The obvious answer is to not interact with The Metaverse at all, just like the sci-fi authors that invented the concept would probably advise. However, if the service does get big enough to become the dystopia it follows, then that likely won't be possible.
Of course, the next big step is regulation. Just like the death of third-party cookies that will heavily change smaller online businesses, regulation is key to the future of the Metaverse. Zuckerberg's Metaverse must be stopped from replicating the virtual hierarchy of novels like Snow Crash.
Then again, it's not just Zuckerberg that we need to be wary of. Other companies, like Epic Games, Microsoft and Apple are already looking to create their own Metaverses. And they all need to be regulated before they're released.