The most concerning aspect of the Facebook/Meta-metaverse tale is that we have no idea what the metaverse will do to the actual world. The tunes are scary, not to be hyperbolic.
In whistleblower Frances Haugen’s materials, for example, you may read about how the current mobile-based 2D version of Instagram already makes one out of every three teens feel horrible about themselves, even to the point of suicide ideation. Mind you, these are Facebook’s own stats. What is the operation of a fully immersed 3D version of monstro? One where you can see yourself from all sides and correct your avatar, but not your own self, in every detail?
Haugen’s docs also demonstrate how Facebook, even in its humdrum newsfeed-based incarnation, often drives people insane. Otherwise calm Americans are storming their own Congress. Citizens of Myanmar are actively participating in genocidal operations. Once again, according to Facebook. Will a full-tone glasses-based virtual version of the blue app monstro be able to fire up in these situations?
I don’t believe anyone on Facebook is yearning for death and devastation. Not to mention the incredibly negative press that results from it. However, the Facebook group is a notoriously bad platform steward. Timely care, to keep things on track, has not been in high demand among the world’s most powerful social network group. Quite the reverse. Until 2014, Facebook’s internal motto was “move quickly and break stuff.”
Not much had changed two years later. “The unpleasant truth is that we believe so firmly in connecting people that anything that helps us to connect more people more frequently is de facto excellent,” an internal letter said in 2016. Also, if “exposing someone to bullies loses someone a life.” Alternatively, if “someone dies in a terrorist assault orchestrated using our tools.” Who was the individual behind the memo? Bosworth, Andrew “Boz” The one in Meta’s metaverse who currently heads the whole Oculus division. Zuckerberg’s technical assistant.
We are not a puppet show. None of us are remotely controlled by Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other digital behemoths’ algorithms. We make our own decisions. However, our first 17 years on Facebook have demonstrated that we are also impressionable.
We can become caught up in our emotions. Look at us in awe at weird small things. Vanish down rabbit holes. Finding and fostering cultures in which all challenges resemble nails because we enjoy hammering. Zuckerberg’s metaverse provides us more of everything, not less.
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