Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Metaverse

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The Facebook platform alone (apart from WhatsApp and Instagram users) has a global audience of 1.9 billion people monthly, according to company numbers — not bad at all for a dorm room project at the turn of the century. But even a casual look at the headlines recently shows that Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is going through something of a rough patch, to put it mildly. Since the 2016 election, people have been paying more attention to how information is disseminated, not all of it is true, and arguably a great deal of it is designed to amplify the divide. Inquiries from both the public and private sectors have included attempts to define the roles the company plays in influencing not only our personal lives but also politics. The brand appears to be bogged down in issue after issue – likely one of the motivating forces behind the chairman and CEO and Zuckerberg’s new appetite for change.

Enter “metaverse”

As explained in a detailed virtual presentation of the concept (and a corollary of the company’s name change to Meta), the modified platform, “metaverse,” is an “immersive internet experience” that takes advantage of traditional social media, augmented reality, and similar technologies to create an online presence. Be “as attractive as your real being”. The company adds that the result will be “a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities” where people can meet, work together, play games and more, using technologies such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. During a two-hour presentation on the potential of the metaverse earlier this year, Zuckerberg explained that it was meant to be the “next evolution of social connectivity” — virtual and engaging spaces where people can connect with each other, learn together, and interact in new ways.

Related: Facebook officially changes its name to META

Escalating rhetoric for sure, but Meta isn’t the first company to launch these kinds of lofty goals for an IPO. Some may remember Second Life, an app from Linden Lab that allows users to create a virtual avatar of themselves that they can then use to interact with an online world. Similar in concept to a traditional MMORPG, or “multiplayer online role-playing game” – where users from all over the world can interact with the same environment – launched in 2003 and is still used by hundreds of thousands of people, but it has never been a stratospheric hit .

There was no Second Life “story” or goal to be achieved: the fun was interacting in a way that users wouldn’t have had the chance in real life. The metaverse wants to take things to the next level. Its origins go back to 2014, when the company bought Oculus for $2 billion. Even then, Zuckerberg predicted that his social media empire would eventually move into a company where people not only interact with friends online in a passive manner by posting messages or photos, but by creating experiences and adventures that weren’t possible in real life.

The concept of the metaverse is the logical extension of that idea, and without a doubt, one of the most ambitious projects of its kind to date. People will have virtual office spaces where workers from home can gather and still have a sense of community, for example. They will also have virtual homes where they can host friends online. They can play games, attend concerts, and travel to otherwise inaccessible cities, among other experiences.

Related: Would you like to work at Meta? Zuckerberg announced 3,700 jobs

Risks and potential profits

However, there are those who are concerned and/or skeptical about the platform, including those who insist that its announcement (and company name change) has been strategically arranged to divert attention from the multiple scandals the company faces. This controversy can be supported by a statement from a former Facebook employee and whistleblower, Frances Hogan, who explained that the company’s evidence basically boils down to: “If you don’t like the conversation, try changing the conversation.” Users will tease the idea or not, the metaverse appears to be a fierce attempt to achieve just that.

No less important are privacy concerns. Users already trust the company with a huge amount of their data. If they start “living” their lives in a virtual world, how will this information be protected… How will these experiences be kept away from people who wish to harm others? This is a complex question that does not yet have an easy answer, and it is fair to say that given Facebook’s current discredit, the public is entitled to less than an excellent security confidence.

Regardless, this is undoubtedly an exciting concept, and one that was going to arrive at some point – and from some companies – whether we were collectively prepared for it or not. And in addressing some basic needs, the timing seems right. In 2019, people may have viewed the idea of ​​using augmented reality for virtual interactions and digital collaboration as an unnecessary lark. Now, after spending so much time at home thanks to the ongoing pandemic, we’re all more comfortable with virtual interactions — consider it perfectly normal to “work” with people we haven’t actually met. Now, thanks to the metaverse, this may become the way many great things in life are done. Whether or not this is a good thing in the end remains to be seen, but it seems inevitable.

Related: Meta Plans stores the physical to showcase their virtual and augmented reality devices

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