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Facebook whistleblower 'shocked' by company’s investment in metaverse – NBC News

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen was “shocked” when she heard the company planned to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to work on the “metaverse,” a version of the internet based on virtual and augmented reality, when its money would be better spent on safety, she told British lawmakers Monday.
“I was shocked to hear that Facebook wants to double down on the metaverse and that they’re going to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to work on the metaverse,” she said. “Because I was like, ‘Wow, do you know what we could have done with safety if we had 10,000 more engineers?’ It would have been amazing.”
Haugen, 37, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, testified before a joint committee discussing a draft of an online safety bill to regulate social media. Her evidence will inform the committee’s work in shaping the bill, which is due to be put before Parliament for approval next year. 
The bill would hold social media companies accountable for harmful content shared on their platforms, leading to major fines in the United Kingdom if they don’t remove material like child sexual abuse and terrorist content. 
“There is a view inside the company that safety is a cost center, it’s not a growth center, which I think is very short-term in thinking, because Facebook’s own research has shown that when people have worse integrity experiences on the site, they are less likely to retain,” Haugen said.
Drew Pusateri, a spokesperson, said Facebook has invested heavily in efforts to improve its platform.
“This criticism makes no sense on its face given nearly every document discussed details the work people did to better understand how to address our challenges,” Pusateri said in an email.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pushed back against ideas that Facebook has prioritized growth over safety.
“We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health,” he said on Facebook this month after Haugen testified before U.S. lawmakers. “If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place?” 
Facebook told NBC News that it has spent $13 billion since 2016 to counter bad content and that it employs 40,000 people to work on safety and security. 
A consortium of 17 media outlets, including NBC News, published dozens of reports Monday based on tens of thousands of pages of leaked internal documents obtained by Haugen, which included disclosures that were made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by her legal counsel. 
Haugen attributed many of Facebook’s failures to effectively police its platform to the company’s “culture of positivity.”
“There is a philosophy that people focus on the good,” she said. “And that’s not always a bad thing, but the problem is that when it’s so intense that it discourages people from looking at hard questions, then it becomes dangerous.”
She said that Facebook employees based in Silicon Valley are likely to look at their own Facebook news feeds and see “a nice place where people are nice to each other” and that they don’t see the harms to society created elsewhere in the world, such as Ethiopia, where leaked documents show the platform is being used to spread hate speech and incite violence without adequate content moderation in several local languages.
While researchers on Facebook’s integrity teams might be acutely aware of the harms the platform amplifies, the information doesn’t necessarily reach executives, Haugen said.
“Good news trickles up, but not the bad news,” she said. “Executives see all the good they are generating, and they can write off the bad as the costs of doing all the good.”
She said the voices of employees who highlight the harms and call for mitigation strategies “don’t get amplified internally because they are making the company grow a little slower, and it’s a company that lionizes growth.”
Damian Collins, the chair of the joint committee, said in a statement before the hearing: “Frances Haugen’s evidence has so far strengthened the case for an independent regulator with the power to audit and inspect the big tech companies. There needs to be greater transparency on the decisions companies like Facebook take when they trade off user safety for user engagement.”
In her appearance on Capitol Hill on Oct. 5, Haugen called on lawmakers to require more transparency from Facebook.
“I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, weaken our democracy and much more,” she told the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.
Olivia Solon is a senior reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News.
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Top 3 Metaverse Crypto Coins Below $0.01 to Watch in June 2022 – The VR Soldier

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Cryptocurrency markets continue to trade sideways this week, with Bitcoin and Ethereum managing a spectacular recovery after bottoming out on June 18th. There are several popular niches for crypto tokens, including NFTs, AI & Big Data, DeFi, and Metaverse. Metaverse crypto coins are showing green across the board, making it an excellent opportunity to cover several undervalued projects with a unit price below 1 cent to watch in June 2022.
Note: The list below is ordered by the unit price of each project, lowest to highest.
Launched in April 2019, Verasity (VRA) is a blockchain company and Metaverse crypto coin looking to build an entirely new experience in AdTech, Esports, and digital rights management.
Verasity features its unique Proof-of-View protocol, which can identify fraudulent online traffic and discard it from analytics platforms, thereby increasing ad revenue for publishers and conversions for advertisers. The PoV protocol also featured NFT authentication features, which help identify fraudulent and copycat collections looking to capitalize on a primary project and its community.
verasity proof-of-view
Due to its unique nature, Verasity’s Proof-of-View technology passed a patent examination by the Chinese Patent Office in January 2022, signaling the tremendous potential for the protocol and the project.
For its product layer, Verasity includes VeraEsports – an Esports platform partnering with some of the most prominent players in the game, such as PUBG Mobile, Valorant, CS:GO, etc. Verasity also features its online crypto wallet – VeraWallet, with guaranteed security and growth for your portfolio. VeraWallet is an ultra-secure, all-in-one digital currency wallet for people who love esports and NFTs.
Moreover, VRA is one of the top Metaverse crypto coins with some of the highest staking yields, offering up to 18.25% on VRA tokens until April 2023. Users can stake their VRA tokens in Verasity’s VeraWallet.
verasity veraviews
Last but not least, Verasity features an earning platform – VeraViews, which enables users to earn VRA tokens for watching content online.
Verasity currently features a market cap of $57 million with a 24-hour trading volume of $6.8 million. Its low unit price of $0.0055 make it a highly undervalued project worth keeping an eye on in June 2022.
VRA is the primary ERC-20 Ethereum-based digital asset for the platform. VRA can be used to earn rewards, payment for various services, etc.
You can purchase VRA on Gate.io, Poloniex, KuCoin, Hotcoin Global, OKX, Bittrex, etc.
Launched in September 2021, Star Atlas (ATLAS) is one of the market’s most anticipated Metaverse crypto games. It features some of the best designs out of all the Metaverse crypto coins and includes a robust NFT marketplace where users can purchase in-game assets to be used in the game when it’s released.
star atlas
Star Atlas, by far, has one of the best design teams behind the project, and we recommend checking out the platform if you haven’t yet. The game is currently in development, but users can check out the website, a few teaser trailers, and its NFT marketplace.
Star Atlas is built on the Solana blockchain, so to interact with its NFT dApp, we recommend connecting with a Solana-supported Web3 wallet like Phantom.
The game itself involves strategy and exploration. Users can explore Star Atlas’ planets in its Metaverse, complete missions, collect resources, and earn rewards via the game’s play-to-earn model.
One unique feature about Star Atlas is its recent partnership with The Sandbox, one of the highest-valued Metaverse crypto projects on the market. The partnership will revolutionize interoperability between the Ethereum and Solana blockchains in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.
Star Atlas includes a dual-token economy consisting of two Solana-based tokens: ATLAS and POLIS. While ATLAS is the primary utility asset for Star Atlas, which enables users to buy NFTs on the marketplace and interact with its Metaverse, POLIS is the governance token providing voting power to holders looking to participate in the Star Atlas DAO.
star atlas
With a current market capitalization of $15 million and a unit price of $0.007, Star Atlas is highly undervalued. Star Atlas has tremendous long-term potential, and we recommend keeping a close eye on the project in June 2022.
You can buy ATLAS on FTX, Gate.io, Kraken, Raydium, LBank, MEXC, Ascend EX (BitMax), OKcoin, Paribu, BitMart, CoinEx, Bitrue, XT.COM, CoinTiger, etc.
Launched in July 2021, Metahero (HERO) is building an ultra-realistic Metaverse enabling users to scan themselves and other real-world objects into Metahero’s digital realm with extreme precision.
metahero and wolf digital world partnership
Metahero partnered with Wolf Digital World, the leaders in 3D photogrammetric scanning technology already utilized by AAA game developers like CD Project, the team behind Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher Series, to create realistic animations and 3D models.
Metahero features its Metaverse called Everdome, which completed a presale raising over $9 million in its seed funding round, signaling the tremendous community support for the project.
While Metahero’s primary utility asset is HERO, Everdome’s token is DOME. Both tokens are BEP-20 BNB Chain crypto assets as Metahero and Everdome are built on the BNB chain. Metahero is one of the most underrated Metaverse crypto coins on BNB, and we recommend keeping a close eye on it in June 2022.
Metahero is undervalued now, as the bear market pushed its valuation to $50 million. With a unit price of $0.0099, it’s a tremendous low-priced coin to watch in June 2022.
In recent news, Metahero announced that it appointed Mariusz Król, the founder of WOLF Group, as the CEO of Metahero. According to the announcement:
“Both teams will continue to deliver at the highest level, each with a unilateral focus, in order to increase and optimize output for both projects.”
You can purchase the HERO token on KuCoin, Gate.io, Bybit, LBank, PancakeSwap (V2), Crypto.com, AAX, CoinEx, Biswap, XT.COM, etc.
Disclosure: This is not trading or investment advice. Always do your research before buying any Metaverse crypto coins.
Follow us on Twitter @thevrsoldier to stay updated with the latest Crypto, NFT, AI, and Metaverse news!
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© 2022 The VR Soldier
© 2022 The VR Soldier

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Facebook's Metaverse is Expanding the Attack Surface – Trend Micro

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Use the CRI to assess your organization’s preparedness against attacks, and get a snapshot of cyber risk across organizations globally.
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Privacy & Risks
Understand the cybersecurity risks in the Metaverse
By: William Malik August 08, 2022 Read time:  ( words)
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Thirty years ago, Paramount trademarked the name “Holodeck.” An artifact of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the holodeck was a magical, computer-generated world where characters lived in another realm – either a historical place or an entirely fictious domain, based on old movies, books, or a character’s imagination. As in much science fiction, the holodeck’s inner workings were never explained, except when dealing with a malfunction: the safety protocols stopped working, an alien took over the controls, a fictional character escaped, all of which put one or more character’s lives at risk.
Also, thirty years ago, Gartner published a research report “Client Server and Cooperative Processing.” It described the underlying model behind client/server computing and described the forms simple two-tiered architectures might take. As a side effect, the report described why client/server computing makes sense (as opposed to doing everything on one machine). Different types of computers have a different ration of computational power to available data. Historically, mainframes tend to be data-rich (tuned to run at 100% processor utilization) and MIPS-poor, while PCs tend to be MIPS-rich (rarely exceeding significant processor utilization) and data-poor – by a factor of about 3,000. If the computational problem involves lots of data but relatively little processing power, a mainframe-style computer fits the bill. If the problem involves lots of processing but not much data, a PC makes sense. And if the problem requires lots of data and lots of processing, then split the problem into two parts – and put the data-heavy part on one, and the compute-intensive part on the other.
Enter the Metaverse
The holodeck is the limiting case of a computational problem requiring lots of data and lots of processing. We can be sure that it is implemented using a multi-tiered architecture. Which brings us to the metaverse, our real-world version of the holodeck. The metaverse will provide a rich, immersive experience when the user wears AR glasses and gloves with haptic feedback (local client computing for compute-intensive tasks) fronting a richly connected network of servers holding vast amounts of data about the background, landscape, avatars, and the physics of the virtual environment.
From a security perspective the metaverse presents every possible attack surface. The primary IT components connect using IP but the many devices needed to flesh out the illusion will run a multitude of industrial control system protocols. Cost pressures will drive vendors building the infrastructure to source low-cost IIoT components, which still lack basic security and privacy controls. Even in the holodeck, advanced authentication was easily forged. Man-in-the-middle attacks will proliferate. Privacy will be non-existent, because people react to sensory input faster than they know, and the local client hardware will pick up and remember those reactions. While people are exploring their virtual world, the virtual world is constantly monitoring and evaluating the individual’s likes, wants, and preferences. The mountain of profile data will make marketing vastly more persuasive, not just for consumer products but also for political advertisement targeting. Vance Packard would be in awe of the metaverse’s power.
Security conventionally guarantees that data shall not be lost, altered, or inadvertently disclosed. Adding the industrial control system mandate for safety brings us to a new model for cybersecurity fitting the threats the metaverse will unleash. Since effective cybersecurity combines technology with policy and user education, we are a long way from securing the metaverse. The architecture is just now coming to light. The proper procedures are far from a first draft, and regulations a decade behind that. For now, the strongest link remains the people using it. Be careful, and thoughtful, about what you want to share and how you would keep a secret in this new virtual world. “Arch!” doesn’t work quite yet.
ReferencesHOLODECK Trademark 74327473, filed Oct 31, 1992.
“Client/Server and Cooperative Processing – a Guide for the Perplexed,” William Malik, Tony Percy, W. Roy Schulte, Gartner, Stamford, CT. October 1992
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, David McKay Co., New York, 1957.

What do you think? Let me know @WilliamMalikTM
William Malik
VP, Infrastructure Strategies

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AR Service Provider Flowing Cloud Eyes to Become First Metaverse-Related Stock Listed in Hong Kong – Pandaily

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On September 22, a document from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) showed that Flowing Cloud, a Chinese tech firm, passed the listing hearing and it will start trading on the main board of the exchange at the end of this month. The firm thus may become “the first Metaverse-related stock listed in Hong Kong.”
Founded in 2008, the firm switched its focus from the game business to AR/VR content and services in April 2017, completing the transformation in May 2019. Now its business mainly covers AR/VR marketing services, AR/VR content and AR/VR SaaS (software as a service).
In view of the fact that AR/VR content and services belongs to the Metaverse ecosystem, the firm has started to build its own Metaverse platform, called Flowing Cloud Metaverse, and will release it in the future. There is a virtual commercial market that allows users to move freely and become merchants, providing access to Metaverse for enterprises and individual users. The platform will connect them together.
The firm also provides AR/VR SaaS services. Recently, it announced a strategic cooperation agreement with the short video sharing app Kuaishou. The contents of the deal include providing convenient editing tools for Kuaishou content creators based on a SaaS platform, which is widely applicable to panoramic pictures and other immersive videos. Creators can make 3D models, add special effects and use other interactive functions.
Flowing Cloud currently maintains relatively considerable revenue growth and profitability. According to its prospectus, the revenues of Feitian Yundong were 251 million yuan ($35.5 million) in 2019, 339 million yuan in 2020 and 595 million yuan in 2021. During the period, the net profit was 42 million yuan, 60 million yuan and 72 million yuan respectively. In the first quarter of 2022, its revenue increased by 64.75% from 139 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 229 million yuan; The net profit increased by 315.78% from about 9.19 million yuan in the same period of 2021 to 38.21 million yuan.
SEE ALSO: Inkeverse Launches Social Metaverse Product Targeted at Gen Z
The net proceeds from this IPO will be mainly for enhancing R&D capabilities and improving technical infrastructure. The firm will enhance its sales and marketing functions, promote potential mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments, and develop the above-mentioned Metaverse platform. Further, the funds will be added to working capital and general corporate purposes.
Investment and financing in the field of Metaverse are in full swing. According to the Investment and Financing Data Report of Metaverse released by Chinese market research firm 100EC in July this year, the financing amount of the Metaverse in China has reached 5.46 billion yuan. In China, there are 160,000 digital human business enterprises and more than 20 provincial governments involved in the building up of the Metaverse. Dora Liu, Deputy CEO and Chief Quality and Transformation Officer at Deloitte China, pointed out that in 2030, China’s Metaverse market will reach 40 trillion yuan, which will count 20% of the country’s GDP, and electronic products and wearable devices in Metaverse will be worth $100 billion.
Domestic leading enterprises are also speeding up the layout of Metaverse. In June this year, Tencent was reported to have set up an “XR-ExtendedReality” department, which is tasked with building an extended reality business including software and hardware for Tencent and will become part of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Group (IEG). In addition, in September 2021, Alibaba launched AYAYI, a digital manager, and in March 2022, it led the investment in Nreal, a Chinese mixed reality (MR) technology startup. Baidu, ByteDance and NetEase have also invested in this field.
Builtopia, a metaverse technology service provider, has recently completed a seed round financing worth tens of millions of yuan led by Shunwei Capital. The funds will be mainly used for technology upgrades and marketing.
On July 13, the HASHII encrypted digital print was jointly released by Inmyshow Digital, a new media marketing company, and Skyworth, a television manufacturer.
This week: Tencent’s NFT marketplace Huanhe to close down, Zipmex becomes latest crypto exchange to halt withdrawals, Hong Kong monetary chief said crypto and DeFi won’t disappear, and more.
The Sandbox announced a new partnership on July 27 with global gaming company Gravity, aimed at bringing Ragnarok, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Gravity, into the metaverse.

A Guide to China's Tech World


TechBuzz China by Pandaily

Pandaily is a tech media based in Beijing. Our mission is to deliver premium content and contextual insights on China’s technology scene to the worldwide tech community.
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