Metaverse pioneers are not impressed with Facebook’s rebranding

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar carries the US flag while scuba diving at Metaworld during a live broadcast of the virtual and augmented reality conference to announce the rebranding of Facebook as Meta, in this screenshot taken from the published video. October 28, 2021. Facebook / Handout via REUTERS

LONDON, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – The first proponents of virtual worlds, known as the metaworld, criticized Facebook’s rebranding as an attempt to make money on a growing buzz about a concept it did not create.

The term “metaworld” has become a fashionable technical word this year, and companies and investors are looking to be part of the next big deal. But users spend years in these fast-growing but obscure virtual worlds. read more

“They’re essentially trying to build what many of us have been building for years, but they’re renaming it their own,” said Ryan Kappel, an American who has hosted meetings in various metaworlds for more than two years.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook’s renaming to Meta Platforms and details of its plan to build its own digital world, announced on Thursday, come as the company grapples with criticism from lawmakers and regulators about its market power, algorithmic solutions and abuse control of its services. read more

In virtual worlds, users can walk as an avatar, meet friends and play games. Some blockchain-based ones also allow users to speculate on virtual real estate.

“I think Facebook made this early name change to essentially legalize the new trademark as soon as possible, as more brands will be interested,” said a British cryptocurrency investor known as Pranksy, who said he first bought real estate in the virtual world. early. 2020.

Artur Sychov, who founded the meta-universe Somnium Space in 2017, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of the rebranding was “a rush … as if trying to enter the narrative of the meta-universe that is happening now.”

Sychov spends up to five hours a day in Somnium Space with 1000-2000 other daily users.

Dave Carr, head of communications at Decentraland, the organization that runs the virtual world, said Facebook’s move could meet resistance from metacosm users who are wary of its content control.

“People who want to determine the future of the virtual worlds they inhabit, retain ownership of their creative results and move freely between them, will choose the decentralized version,” he said, describing Decentraland as decentralized and Facebook’s plan as likely. centralized.

Founded in 2017, Decentraland currently has around 7,000 daily users, seeing itself as an alternative to traditional social networking platforms that sell user data and control the content that users see.

Many existing metauniverse platforms are based on blockchain technology, which makes central control impossible. Blockchain is the architecture of the distributed book that underlies cryptocurrencies. In these virtual worlds, people use cryptocurrencies to buy land and other digital objects in the form of fixed tokens (NFT). read more

However, the reaction of the first users of metapoems was not negative. Some argue that Facebook’s release could increase interest in the concept of virtual worlds in general, attract more users and support the development of multiple virtual worlds.

Tristan Littlefield, co-founder of NFT nft42 and a meta-universe user since 2018, said his first reaction to Facebook ads was negative because he didn’t like selling user data.

But “a giant like Facebook will come and just drop billions of dollars … can be positive” because of the new people it will bring into space, he said.

Report by Elizabeth Hawcroft; Editing: Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ trust principles.

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