Facebook Enters the ‘Metaverse’

By Jawad Abbas, Staff Writer

It is no secret that Facebook has been exploring and expanding its efforts into the metaverse, and now it is clear that the company is going all in. 

On October 28th, the dominant social media giant revealed at its annual Connect conference that it will be changing its name to Meta. The announcement caused the company’s stock price to climb by 1.5% on the day.  

Founded in 2004, Facebook has established themselves as the most utilized social media platform. Facebook has dominated this industry for over 15 years and now has their sights on the metaverse. The popular social media platform will keep the same but will now be recognized as a subsidiary to the holding company, Meta Platforms Inc

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms Inc. insists that “[the company’s] mission remains the same, still about bringing people together.”

After acquiring virtual reality giant, Oculus, in 2014, for $2 billion, it is no surprise that Facebook has been exploring the possibilities of the virtual world. On September 9, 2021, Facebook announced their partnership with Ray Bans to develop “Smart Glasses” which introduces consumers to the use of augmented reality. Now Meta hopes to take its efforts one step further and gain a foothold into the virtual world. 

Facebook’s rebrand has shifted eyes toward the next development of the internet. With advancements in technology, trends such as cryptocurrencies and the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFT’s), consumers are becoming more curious about this new digital space.

Brands such as Charmin, Taco Bell, Coca Cola, and others have already begun to dip their toes into the metaverse by offering a variety of digital products to consumers. Over the past summer, Coca Cola introduced four limited NFT tokens to auction off to consumers in the hope of raising money to help out charity organization, Special Olympics International. Loyal Coca Cola consumers got the opportunity to purchase a bundle of four exceptional digital art pieces to represent their favourite drink brand and support a great cause at the same time. Meta aims to expand on what brands are already doing in the digital space and to do it better. 

Meta plans to introduce new technology to enable their consumers to stay connected with their friends and family in a more improved digitized fashion. The tech giant has revealed its plans to strengthen privacy and security, by introducing their Horizon and Presence platform. This will make it easier to work from home, so consumers can truly embrace the digital space.

As with all else, change leads to skepticism. The digital world is already dealing with plenty of uncertainties as the SEC is still trying to find ways to regulate cryptocurrency and China outright banning crypto transactions. Investors, such as Warren Buffet, are also letting their bearish perspective of the digital space be known. In an interview with CNBC, Buffett stated that “[cryptocurrency] has no value” and that “[he doesn’t] own any and never will.” All of these concerns only add more difficulties to the recent legal and privacy issues Facebook has been facing in recent years. In 2019, Facebook was imposed a $5 billion penalty for violating consumers’ privacy. 

With Facebook’s immense control over the social media space, many fear that Meta will establish a similar monopoly over the digital space. Consumers are losing their trust in the brand and question the CEO’s notorious unsettling “robotic nature.” Mark Zuckerberg and the entire Meta team understand that they need to gain back the trust of their consumers in order to further expand into the digital space.

Regardless of the recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s rebranding, the questionable intent of Mark Zuckerberg or of the entire metaverse, it is intriguing to see what Meta will achieve in this unexplored virtual world.

Photo by Timothy Hales Bennett on Unsplash

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