Why Facebook metaverse is so controversial

Mark Zuckerberg recently rebranded its digital empire Facebook as “Meta.” The metaverse might be even more intrusive for its users' privacy, though.

While it’s a cognitive bias to look for meanings and hidden signs everywhere, words are rarely chosen at random in this IT business.

“Meta” means “beyond,” and “universe” is a representation of our location in the global spacetime. Etymologically, “metaverse” would mean “beyond the location,” but according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Meta must be seen as an immersive experience with life-like interactions.

Permalink to heading Web2 vs. Web3 Web2 vs. Web3

Web3 is deeply related to decentralization with blockchains and decentralized networks applications. In web3, cryptocurrencies play an essential part because of the specific protocols and the technologies involved.

Web3 also requires new economic models. Indeed, web2 apps usually start monetizing only after they reach sufficient users, whereas web3 apps can leverage the benefits of native built-in payments.

Web3 is said to be way more secure and privacy compliant than web2. There are many other advantages, but my point here is the following:

Why should I trust Meta in the web3 when the same company has contributed so massively to the web2’s fail?

Instead of easing off the accelerator, the company wants to increase data collection to an unprecedented level (beyond the sky?).

Permalink to heading Can you unplug? Can you unplug?

Immersive environments are addictive by nature. The ultimate goal of big companies such as Facebook is to keep users on the platform to make money, regardless of the ethical aspects.

More and more people want to unplug from social platforms these days. There are legitimate reasons for that:

  • reducing screen time
  • stopping privacy intrusion
  • escaping from the dopamine addiction
  • socializing IRL

It’s hard to achieve, but it’s possible. With the Metaverse, some people might also unplug, but from the reality!

Facebook is a notorious intruder. The company has a pretty bad reputation with regular data breaches, bad security practices, misinformation, and quite unethical decisions to increase profits, making the platform anything but a safe environment.

The current experiments with virtual business meetings suggest there could be some kind of forced opt-in for employees if their company decides to jump in the Metaverse.

Permalink to heading More sensors for an immersive experience More sensors for an immersive experience

The company will need way more data to achieve the perfect immersive environment. If words such as Electroencephalography (EEG) seem science-fiction today, it could be used in the future to reflect your emotions as a way to “enhance the immersive experience.”

While I understand this is technically exciting, the idea of Facebook collecting brain activities bothers me, and it’s not an impossible scenario. If they achieve that, we’ll need another unit to measure their capitalization, as trillions of dollars might not be enough!

The company would be unstoppable. Marketers and advertisers might track subconscious responses exploiting biometric data generated by the pupils and the eyes.

Indeed pupil dilatation and eye movements can reveal the most intimate details like whether you’re telling the truth or not, or even if you’re sexually attracted by someone, for example.

Permalink to heading Conclusion Conclusion

While it’s not uncommon for a company to rename itself to revamp its image, Meta goes beyond any expectation in the worst. I simply don’t trust Facebook with my data, and I don’t see any legitimate reason to consider Meta safer.

In addition, how stakeholders and authorities could regulate such a shift in the paradigm, as they already have great difficulties understanding and controlling the current threats?