Last week, Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc to reflect its role in building the metaverse – a shared virtual environment which it believes will eventually replace the internet.
Clegg, in a Zoom interview on Tuesday, told Reuters that it could take up to 15 years for the metaverse to come to fruition, giving the company time to build in safety and security features.
"This time we can work with academics, we can work with lawmakers, we can work with regulators together and collaboratively, to put the guard rails in place before the technology matures," he said.
Clegg said it was "not an either/or choice" between its current responsibilities and investing in the metaverse.
He said that the metaverse should be "an interoperable ecosystem," meaning the company's content standards would have to be aligned with other tech firms building for the metaverse. He said the standards and protocols of this interoperability would be "some of the most difficult and most important policy work."
The news comes as Facebook faces increasing scrutiny over its perceived failure to protect users’ privacy and the leaking of internal documents by former employee Frances Haugen, which she claims to be incontrovertible evidence that the company has put profit before user safety.
Facebook denies the claims and says that the leaked documents are being used to present a false picture of the company.
On Monday Haugen spoke at the Lisbon Web Summit, where she urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to resign and argued that the company should be prioritising user safety on existing platforms over investing in the metaverse.
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