If Facebook was a person, where would he / she / they be now? Most likely, in prison… for a very long time. There are too many violations of the company to list them. But Facebook is not human; it is a company, and very profitable. In fact, it is now one of the most profitable companies in the world. Facebook’s market capitalization recently exceeded $ 1 trillion.
When we think of Facebook, or rather, Facebook Inc., we tend to think of a social media platform that is somewhat outdated. However, it is important to remember that this multi-headed hydra is a conglomerate owned by 78 different companies, including WhatsApp and Instagram. In other words, Facebook is much more than a video about cats and conspiracy theories. Facebook Inc., led by Mark Zuckerberg, a smoked champion, is a well-oiled machine. His power is undeniable, and that power is growing. As Fortune magazine recently noted:
“It seems that Facebook cannot be harmed – neither because large advertising buyers are boycotting its service, nor because of state and federal investigations, nor even because of the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought the world to its knees, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg felt no repercussions. Last year, his fortune was $ 82 billion; today it is more than 130 billion dollars. Now that Zuckerberg is trying to create his own metaverse, expect his value – and his strength – to grow significantly.
Before talking about the metaverse, it is important to ask one important question: what the hell is the universe? The combination of the words “goal”, meaning “outside”, and “universe”, the metauniverse combines elements of the physical world and combines them with virtual spaces. American writer and writer Neil Stevenson introduced the term in 1992. Two decades later, no longer limited to the realm of science fiction, the metauniverse is almost approaching us.
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In this amazing new world, the boundaries between physical reality and digital domains will become increasingly blurred. Indispensable tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies are already part of the meta universe, but in the future, in the actual meta universe, they will be combined with you, the user. Although we now live, communicate and shop online, as soon as the metaworld appears, we live our lives very well. in Internet. Elon Musk wants to take us to Mars, but Zuckerberg wants to take us to the Internet and put us on the Internet. Literally.
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In a recent interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg described the metaverse as “the embodied Internet, where instead of just browsing content, you’re in it.” We will be the tenants of Zuckerberg’s house, which is constantly expanding. The rent will be paid in the form of data. This is not a comforting thought. According to Toby Tremaine of Wired, large technology firms such as Facebook have “become fenced-in gardens, increasingly centralized and controlled by corporate interests.” Facebook already “owns WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus,” which gives them ownership of our friends, our behavior, our gait, eye movements and emotional state. ” Soon, if Zuckerberg achieves his goal, Facebook Inc. will have even more control over our lives. I argue that this should not comfort anyone but Zuckerberg.
Biometric data will be needed to access the metaverse. Eye scans, voice recordings, heart rate, etc. All this information is collected by Facebook Inc. What will be done with this data? Given that Facebook has a terrible history of violating user data, this is an important question. What laws, if any, will apply in the metaverse? If my avatar steals an asset, such as digital artwork, from another user, will I be punished? What happens if I live in Canada and my victim lives in Cambodia? If you think that the world of cryptocurrencies has its problems with crime, and it is so, imagine the problems that the metaworld will face. Think of Grand Theft Auto in combination with real scenes from Haiti or South Africa. Can we trust Facebook to control the metaworld? Of course not. Again, who can we trust the police of the unknown? World governments? Please.
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For this work, I turned to Matthew Ball, a kind of metaworld mystic. Venture capitalist, futurist and Silicon Valley veteran merged into one, Ball told me:
“The very premise of the metacosm means that most of our lives will be online, not just data about our lives.”
As for our economies, they “will work virtually, not just expand digitally (ie through e-mail, e-commerce, etc.).” Moving to the metaverse, Ball warned, will exacerbate “many of today’s risks, such as misinformation, data security, data rights (i.e., portability, the right to be forgotten, disclosure), and platform control risks (e.g., Apple’s ownership of application standards, distribution applications, invoicing applications). ” What we are seeing is a kind of digital evolution. The Internet has changed the way we provide information, services and online experiences, but the metaverse – through glasses, headsets and tactile sensors – will change what it means to be human. In fact, the metauniverse will take us somewhere completely unknown. However, now we have to ask the question: should Facebook be a company that will take us wherever we are?
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John McGlion is a researcher and culturologist. His work has been published by The New York Post, The Spectator, The Sydney Morning Herald and the National Review.