Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement about renaming Facebook’s parent company to Meta was met with strong criticism.
In a one-hour streamed video message, Facebook’s CEO announced he will be tapping into the world of virtual reality. VR already has the potential of playing a significant role in people’s lives. In fact, 3.2% of Aussies using virtual reality devices connected them to the Internet to keep track of their health in 2020.
The term metaverse derives from a 1992 book by Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash. The book illustrates a world where people communicate in a digital world using VR headsets.
Mr Zuckerberg further stated he expects the Metaverse to reach billion people, as well as bring in over a billion dollars from digital commerce and open up job spots for millions of developers and creators.
That being said, social apps Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram will keep their current names, but Zuckerberg plans to take social media to the next level. He thinks the metaverse will become a substitute for smartphones as a new way of communicating online.
Facebook has continuously been investing in AR and VR technologies, including its acquisition of Oculus for US$2 billion back in 2014.
Still, the recent plans for dominating the metaverse left many experts wondering what Facebook’s intentions are. Some believe it’s a plan to distract the public from a recent scandal when former employee Frances Haugen shared thousands of Facebook’s internal studies.
Other experts have divided opinions about the reasons behind this step. While some believe the company plans to create a huge source of revenue powered by people’s data, others see it as an opportunity to enhance tools and technologies in a collaborative way.