Facebook’s Rebrand To Meta Seems A Little Dystopian (VIDEO)
“When you live in a sh**hole, there’s always the Metaverse.”
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
With Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook will be rebranding to Meta, he proved that irony is alive and well. Granted, it’s fitting that he chose to name his company after a fictional social network set in a dystopian future.
Neal Stephenson coined the term metaverse in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. Set in a world of corporate states, climate change disasters, and failing economies, people take to the virtual world to escape the dismal reality outside.
So, to quote the book, “When you live in a sh**hole, there’s always the Metaverse.”
And if you see parallels between our world and the novel, that’s not too surprising. A further similarity between our worlds is the central point of the novel.
Stephenson explores how easily humans can be manipulated and programmed by technology, and how corporations won’t hesitate to profit from human misery. The title Snow Crash references a digital narcotic that causes real-world brain damage. It also has the added benefit of allowing media mogul L. Bob Rife to control those infected with the drug.
And while he doesn’t have a digital mind-control drug, Zuckerberg is still giving Stephenson’s dystopian vision a run for its money. His metaverse will have news feeds, face tracking, geolocation, and — of course — ads. Your role and experience in this new reality will be manipulated by the data Meta has on you to increase their profit margins.
As for the metaverse, it’s on its way. Think of it as the next stage of how we interact with the internet. Although it’s impossible to predict what exactly it’ll look like, the most basic explanation is that it’s a network of connected virtual worlds with a focus on social interaction.
By rebranding to Meta, Zuckerberg has positioned his company to be a central figure in the progression of this new internet. When you think of or hear about the innovations surrounding the metaverse, you're naturally going to think of Meta whether the latest innovation actually came from the company or not.
Still, Meta is doing its best to buy or bury any competition. The FTC is currently pursuing the company for just that.
So, as what the internet looks like and how it integrates into our lives progresses over the next few decades, we have to consider who we want to see controlling it. If it becomes an integral part of our lives, then our data, our privacy, and what we are being shown and allowed to share will be controlled by whoever runs the foundation of this new world.
And Zuckerberg has already said the metaverse will be filled with ads which raises questions about our privacy and data.
So, we can either heed Stephenson’s warning or fulfill what he prophesied back in 1992.
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