If Facebook were a human being, where would it currently be? Probably behind bars … for a long time. The transgressions committed by the company are too many to list. But Facebook is not human; it is a company, and a very profitable one. In fact, it is currently one of the most profitable companies in the world. Facebook’s market cap recently crossed the $ 1 trillion mark.
When we think of Facebook, more specifically Facebook Inc., we tend to think of a somewhat dated social platform. However, it’s important to remember that this multi-headed hydra is a conglomerate that owns 78 different companies, including WhatsApp and Instagram. In other words, Facebook is more than just cat videos and conspiracy theories. Led by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc. is a well-oiled machine. Its power is undeniable and it tends to grow day by day. Like recently reported from Fortune magazine:
“Facebook, it seems, cannot be harmed, neither by major ad buyers boycotting its service, nor by state and federal investigations, nor by a pandemic.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought the world to its knees, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t felt the effects. Last year he had a paltry net worth of $ 82 billion; today exceeds 130 billion. Now, with Zuckerberg trying to create its metaverse, the value of the company – and consequently its power – is bound to increase considerably.
Before discussing the metaverse, it is important to ask yourself an important question: what the hell is the metaverse !? A fusion of the words “meta”, meaning “beyond”, and “universe”, the metaverse combines elements of the physical world and blends them with virtual spaces. It was the American writer and author Neal Stephenson, in 1992, to coin the term. Three decades later, no longer confined to the realms of science fiction, the metaverse is almost upon us.
In this vast new world, the boundaries between physical reality and digital domains will become increasingly blurred. THE non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies are already part of the experience “metaversale”, but going further, into the actual metaverse, they will be connected with you, the end user. Although we currently live, communicate and shop on the internet, once the metaverse is born, we will live our lives. in Internet. Elon Musk wants to take us to Mars. Zuckerberg, on the other hand, wants to place us on the Internet. Literally.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg described the metaverse as a “internet embodied, where instead of just viewing the contents, you are in it”. We will be tenants in the ever-expanding Zuckerberg mansion. The rent will be paid in the form of data. This is not a comforting thought. Like underlined by Wired’s Toby Tremayne, Big Tech companies like Facebook are “become walled 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 inclinations, eye movement and emotional state“Soon, if Zuckerberg’s plan succeeds, Facebook Inc. will have even greater control over our lives. That, in my opinion, shouldn’t comfort anyone … except Zuckerberg.
To access the metaverse, biometric data will be required. Eye scans, voice recordings, pulse, etc. All this information will be collected by Facebook Inc. What will be done with this data? Considering that Facebook has a sordid history of user data breaches, that’s an important question to ask. What laws, if any, will apply in the metaverse? If my avatar steals an asset, such as a digital artwork, will I be punished? What if I live in Canada but my victim lives in Cambodia? If you think the cryptocurrency world has its own problems with crime, and it does, imagine the problems the metaverse will present to us. Think Grand Theft Auto mixed with real-life scenes in Haiti or South Africa. Can we trust Facebook’s metaverse surveillance? Obviously not. But after all, who can we trust to guard the unknown? Of world governments? Let’s not joke.
For this piece I contacted Matthew Ball, a kind of metaverse guru. The venture capitalist, futurist and Silicon Valley veteran combined into one, confided to me:
“The very premise of the metaverse means that our own lives will be online, rather than just the data.”
As for our economies, “will work virtually rather than simply being digitally enhanced (e.g. via email, e-commerce, etc.)“The transfer to the metaverse, Ball warns, will intensify.”many current risks, such as disinformation, data security, data rights (e.g. portability, right to be forgotten, disclosure), as well as platform control risks (e.g. Apple’s ownership of distribution and billing standards apps).“What we are seeing is a kind of digital evolution. The internet has changed the way we get information, deliver services, and experience online. But the metaverse, through glasses, headphones and tactile sensors, will revolutionize the meaning of being human. In essence, the metaverse will take us to a completely unknown place. The question we need to ask ourselves now, though, is: Should Facebook be the company that will take us there?
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect or represent those of Cointelegraph.
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and cultural commentator. His work has been featured in the likes of The New York Post, The Spectator, The Sydney Morning Herald and National Review.
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