On Thursday, Facebook announced a revolutionary and innovative new distraction from their public relations disaster. As reporters continue to look at thousands of leaked documents that show the company is fully aware that it is degrading democratic societies, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook is changing its name to Meta, has a new logo that looks like a leaning Na’vi, and will go from spreading misinformation about vaccines to creating a super lame version of Second Life.
Zuckerberg promised that in the future we would all work, play, and âthrow surprise birthday partiesâ as avatars in Facebook’s virtual reality âMetaverseâ. Her examples of how it could work had all the cultural awareness of a Kendall Roy social media strategy.
In one sequence, Zuckerberg arrives on a spaceship – âThis place is amazing! It was made by a designer I met in LA! – before opening his contact list, walking past the most prominent rapper of 2007 T-Pain and arriving at a friend’s house who composes â3D-street artâ from the streets of New York to the spaceship platform. âIt’s breathtaking! I love the move, âZuckerberg’s virtual buddies say, as they look at something that looks like clip art someone could have used on letterhead for a law firm in the United States. small city. Then, just as it disappears from view, Zuckerberg purchases it, apparently as NFT, so it can stay in virtual space forever.
Zuckerberg’s virtual game world pretends to be a way to escape the destruction he has inflicted on the real one. Facebook has played a major role in fomenting ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, instigating lynchings in India and Sri Lanka, amplifying white nationalism in the United States, and providing the anti-vaccine movement with a massive megaphone during a global pandemic . Rather than tackling this ruin, Zuckerberg wants us all to turn our attention to a fantasy land where he’s friends with rappers and where you can watch Instagram stories on a pirate ship.
He joins a group of 21st century robber barons who, after successfully colonizing huge swathes of Earth 1.0, seek to escape to other spheres of reality.
Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are obsessed with the idea of ââphysically leaving the planet, devoting their wealth to a fiercely fought space race despite the fact that no one is going to Mars anytime soon. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey attempted a more metaphysical escape, spending weeks at a time in glamorous meditation retreats, practicing total silence, in an effort to escape the noisy and unregulated world of hate speech that ‘he promoted.
Zuckerberg has now taken it a step further, creating such a virtual reality that Facebook has yet to destroy it. But his take on avatar poker games is also fantastic. From Habbo Hotel to SecondLife, Sansar, and High Fidelity, there are hundreds of similar VR social offerings that you probably haven’t heard of, because all that’s really going on is people hanging out in condos. delivered badly by saying âIs your thing working, mine is lagging.â These types of social worlds remain a niche concern (in part because few social interactions are enhanced by a headset nausea soup. ).
An example: The world has been living with working from home for 18 months, and during that time there have been thousands of high-tech offerings trying to recreate the office, but every big business still goes for the dismal Zoom appeal. . This is because VR is inherently silly and most jobs are not.
These billionaire turmoils are both real – in the sense that they will have billions of dollars invested in them – and sheer fantasy. It’s impressive that SpaceX and Blue Origin have reached low Earth orbit, but we’re not going to move polluting industries into space or colonize Mars. These projects have more to do with providing psychological balm to their owners (and selling stocks in Tesla and Amazon) than with the future of technology.
What Facebook posted on Thursday was a Pixar-style dream sequence of how Zuckerberg wants people to see him. He leveraged one of the greatest tech operations ever imagined to create an entirely new universe in which he is not a villain. For the rest of us who live on Earth, nothing has changed.