On Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company had rechristened itself, Meta, in reference to the “metaverse,” or a whole new virtual universe composed of virtual and augmented reality technology and more.
So basically, a huge new virtual platform controlled by the Zuck, even if that’s, arguably, already our reality.
This foreseen move has left regulators deeply concerned — a worrying situation exacerbated by already deeply concerning issues, particularly in the context of the Frances Haugen revelations and the widespread targeting of social media by state-backed hackers, forcing regulators and governments to shift their attention to two rather essential, yet often dismissed values such PRIVACY and SECURITY.
For instance, an advertiser targeting you in a virtual world might not just be reacting to old-world data like your age and gender:
what about your body language, your physiological responses, knowing who you are interacting with and how?
Those are only few of the rising fears grappling the higher institutions and rapidly cascading onto the major public — so while Facebook is caught in this crossfire, it tried to ‘divert’ mainstream attention towards its promise of a conscientious development of the metaverse by announcing a $50m (£36m) investment programme to ensure the metaverse is built ‘responsibly and fairly’ — with the money distributed among organisations and academic institutions such as Seoul National University and Women in Immersive Tech.
The idea behind Meta is to extend its reach from a mere global social network to become the digital infrastructure of everyday life.
It wants to become the imperceptible medium that permeates our entire existence, and the idea is that Meta will be a holding company in charge of a thriving ecosystem of interconnected products and services, all seamlessly integrated into a hybrid world able to effortlessly extract profit at every point in the system.
So far, the message that major regulators and mainstream media got is that the end goal for Meta is that it is no longer a service you use but instead the infrastructure upon which you live.