Meta’s New Headset Will Track Your Eyes for Targeted Ads – Slashdot

Earlier this week, Meta revealed the Meta Quest Pro, the company’s most premium virtual reality headset to date with a new processor and screen, dramatically redesigned body and controllers, and inward-facing cameras for eye and face tracking. “To celebrate the $1,500 headset, Meta made some fun new additions to its privacy policy, including one titled ‘Eye Tracking Privacy Notice,'” reports Gizmodo. “The company says it will use eye-tracking data to ‘help Meta personalize your experiences and improve Meta Quest.’ The policy doesn’t literally say the company will use the data for marketing, but ‘personalizing your experience’ is typical privacy-policy speak for targeted ads.” From the report: Eye tracking data could be used “in order to understand whether people engage with an advertisement or not,” said Meta’s head of global affair Nick Clegg in an interview with the Financial Times. Whether you’re resigned to targeted ads or not, this technology takes data collection to a place we’ve never seen. The Quest Pro isn’t just going to inform Meta about what you say you’re interested in, tracking your eyes and face will give the company unprecedented insight about your emotions. “We know that this kind of information can be used to determine what people are feeling, especially emotions like happiness or anxiety,” said Ray Walsh, a digital privacy researcher at ProPrivacy. “When you can literally see a person look at an ad for a watch, glance for ten seconds, smile, and ponder whether they can afford it, that’s providing more information than ever before.”

Meta has already developed a ton of technology for these purposes. The company filed a patent for a system that “adapts media content” based on facial expressions back in January, and it has experimented with harnessing and manipulating people’s emotions for more than a decade. In January, it patented a mechanical eyeball. Despite the public’s privacy concerns about Meta, it may be hard for people who use the company’s products to resist activating the eye-tracking features because of what they will allow your avatar to do.

“If Meta is successful, there’s going to be a stigma attached with denying that data,” ProPrivacy’s Walsh said. “You don’t want to be the only one looking like an expressionless zombie in a virtual room full of people smiling and frowning.” Of course, eye-tracking data could be used to determine what you’re thinking about buying. Maybe you spend a few extra seconds glancing at an expensive digital fedora, and the company sends you a coupon code an hour later. But measuring your emotions opens up a whole new arena for targeted ads. Digital marketing is all about showing you the right ad at the right moment. Walsh says advertisers could build campaigns with content specifically designed for people who seem frustrated, or more cheerful ad for people who are in a good mood.

Source link