UK's Authority Is Entering Conversations With Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg Over The Oculus VR Headset And The Security Concerns It Poses For Children

The UK government’s Information Commissioner’s Office stated that it is gearing up for intensive discussions with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg over safety measures being installed in new Oculus devices for the sake of younger individuals using them, reports TheGuardian.

The Oculus Quest 2 is a device that I’m sure almost anyone who went Christmas shopping for young ones is aware of to at least some extent. It was one of the most gifted items across Christmas across much of the UK and the USA because of course it is. A virtual reality headset that offers parents a limited amount of quiet time and gives kids some interactive games to play? I’d honestly be signing up as well; or rather, I’d be signing up if not for the complete lack of parental controls and restrictions offered up by the technology. This really does sound like such a Meta thing to do, making a VR headset that will obviously be incredibly appealing to kids, and then doing literally nothing to provide any form of online security to those very impressionable minds. Sounds exactly like the company that’s been criticized time and time again for mismanagement with COVID-19 misinformation, the US Capitol riots, and has even been outed by a former employee for promoting harmful and toxic content to users. Yikes.
There are the usual defenders out there in the world, stating that if something’s so harmful individuals have a personal responsibility to keep their kids shielded from it, and the company shouldn’t be blamed. They’re not forcing anyone to use the product after all, right? Well, a couple of things: first off, anything that proves detrimental to impressionable minds is right off the bat shady. This isn’t a cigarette or anything, kids typically know that they’re bad for them. These are video games, and the major complaint here isn’t their content. It’s that these games provide online experiences that can lead to encounters with predators, racists, sexists, or all three combined into one (not a very uncommon breed, if 4Chan’s anything to go off of).

The UK government has been hot on Meta’s trail for a while. It’s had a conversation regarding virtual safety with Zuckerberg before, and has also launched investigations and hearings into the harmful content and anti-competitive machinations that Meta is infamous for. The ICO’s current plans are to confront Zuckerberg regarding the implementation of parental safety feature in Oculus devices, which is honestly the bare minimum that any such device should have in place. If laptops can come with safety features built in, what’s wrong with Meta putting in the least amount of effort and adding similar features to its own headsets?

Read next: Here Are the Biggest Obstacles Faced by the Ad Industry in 2022
Previous Post Next Post