We fear Meta won’t be any better, Facebook

You may have heard by now that Facebook’s parent company has changed its name to Meta. The social media platform’s name and core features will remain the same. In a video seemingly straight out of an episode of the dystopian sci-fi series Black Mirror, socially awkward 👽 CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains that it will take social media interaction to a whole new level – or as they call it, the ✨metaverse✨. We were here for the social media reaction to the strangely unappealing fantasy world depicted in the video.  

But it’s the dream they’re building towards over the next decade – and ploughing billions into. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be some of the new integrated features on Facebook and across your devices. The plan is that you’ll be able to seamlessly, remotely interact and play games with people and in spaces in real-time. Remember the augmented reality game Pokémon Go? Something like that…. but much more sophisticated. 

The rebranding comes on the back of the Facebook leaks we told you about previously: a whistleblower revealed that some of the company’s practices actively aid authoritarian governments and allow hate speech, among other explosive reveals.

In related news, you know how Facebook is insanely good at suggesting people to tag in your pics? Well, following “societal concerns”, the company has announced that it will be scrapping its facial recognition feature, wiping off more than a billion people’s “individual facial recognition templates”.  But the company is on a roll with other products like the recently launched Ray-Ban smart glasses that can snap images and video and send them to your phone, like something straight out of a spy movie. We…have more privacy concerns. 

Tech isn’t bad in and of itself. It’s what we do with it – and how we regulate it – that matters. Having Zuckerberg make a play to dominate the next frontier of our digital lives, given his spotty ethics record, is dangerous. As one expert said: We let Facebook rule the world of social media. We shouldn’t let it rule the metaverse. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 4 November 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.