Mark Zuckerburg has announced Facebook’s ambition to dominate the metaverse — this is why it’s not a good idea. Facebook’s announcement that it will rename its parent company Meta has been greeted with ridicule and skepticism, but some experts have hinted at a more concerning motive behind its move to dominate the metaverse.
While announcing the change during a one-hour streamed message, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg was shown exploring virtual reality worlds that could one day be a regular part of people’s lives.
He said the name showed the company’s focus on developing a new digital space dubbed the “metaverse”, where technology such as virtual reality headsets could blur the real and digital worlds together.
“Within the next decade, Metaverse will reach a billion people, post hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Mr. Zuckerberg said social media sites Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp would keep their names, but it was time to build the next chapter. He believes the metaverse will eventually replace smartphone apps as the primary form of online interaction.
“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing,” he added.
The move to dominate the metaverse has some experts worried. They point to a concerning reason why Facebook is so interested in technology and say it should not overlook the virtual world in the same way it has shaped social media.
What is the metaverse?
The term metaverse comes from a book published in 1992 called Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. It depicts a world where people wear virtual reality headsets to interact inside a game-like digital world.
In the real world, it’s one of the terms used to describe the concept of bringing together the real and digital worlds using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
What is Facebook doing?
Facebook has been buying up a lot of VR and AR technology for years, including purchasing the VR headset company Oculus for US$2 billion in 2014.
Facebook Reality Labs, which brings together researchers, developers, and engineers to create the future of AR and VR, has been developing projects like Ray-Ban Stories (Facebook-connected sunglasses with a camera and voice control) and Project Aria, aimed at creating 3D maps of public spaces.