Meta’s new VR headset will track eye movements to target adverts
This week, Meta released their most advanced virtual reality headgear to date, the Meta Quest Pro, which has many welcome improvements for our enjoyment of the metaverse.
However, as reported by Gizmodo, Meta has made sure to keep its “meta-ness,” or its famed habit of “personalising user experience,” which is simply collecting all of your user data, including monitoring your eye movements and emotions to target adverts.
This was discovered in the ‘Eye Tracking Privacy Notice’ section of the company’s privacy policies, which states that the information will help “Meta personalise your experiences and improve Meta Quest.”
Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of global relations, echoed this sentiment in an interview with the Financial Times. To “understand if consumers engage with an advertisement or not,” he said, “this will be quite helpful.”
The Quest Pro’s data collection capabilities are next level, regardless of whether or not you’re comfortable with giving your information for advertising purposes. Meta will learn more than just what you’re looking at thanks to the eye tracking technology; it will also get unprecedented insight into your emotional state, such as whether or not a given advertisement makes you feel happy, excited, anxious, or angry.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Ray Walsh, a digital privacy researcher at ProPrivacy, said that the sensors will be able to “see” a person look at an ad for a watch, look at it for 10 seconds, grin, and wonder aloud whether or not they can afford it. Such in-depth, individual profiles are not available in any other medium.
And alas, the Quest Pro’s eye-tracking functionality is a selling point, so turning it off won’t help. Since the sensors can read your facial expressions, your digital character will appear more lifelike.
Every time you think user privacy has been compromised to its absolute limit, humans and tech companies like Meta find a new way to penetrate even beyond, bringing us ever closer to a world where user privacy is nothing but a myth.