[imagesource: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]
The news that Mark Zuckerberg would be changing Facebook’s name (the company, not the social media site) came amidst some pretty damning claims from a whistleblower, criticism from netizens, and a general PR crisis like never before.
But good old Zuck went ahead anyway and announced the name change yesterday (October 28).
Facebook (again, the company) shall now be referred to as Meta, encompassing Facebook (the site), Instagram, WhatsApp, and virtual reality brand Oculus as well.
The company is transitioning into a “metaverse company”, with the tech giant saying, “Meta is helping to build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection.”
The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. It’s a collective project that will be created by people all over the world, and open to everyone. You’ll be able to socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what’s possible today. pic.twitter.com/655yFRm8yZ
— Meta (@Meta) October 28, 2021
The metaverse is essentially a virtual reality, which The Guardian explains:
The metaverse is where the physical and digital worlds come together. It is a space where digital representations of people – avatars – interact at work and play, meeting in their office, going to concerts and even trying on clothes.
The idea is to enter the metaverse via Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets and interact with the world around you with a digital world layered on top.
Think of Pokémon Go or Facebook’s (sorry, Meta’s) recent smart glasses collab with Ray-Ban.
The name change announcement also came with a demo showing off what the company imagines the future of computing will look like.
The Verge reckons that these demos were actually pretty interesting, even “amid all the fluff”:
During the presentation, Meta showed off the work it’s been doing on its Codec Avatars to give users better control over their eyes, facial expressions, hairstyles, and appearance.
The company also showed off the ability to simulate how the avatar’s hair and skin could react to different lighting conditions and environments and even how it was working on interactive clothing… [and] its real-time environment rendering, which it said would eventually be a place for you to use your avatar to interact with others.
Here’s some very bad acting from Zuck with a video showcasing what the metaverse is capable of:
Here’s a longer look at what’s in store, with everything you need to know about the metaverse:
As you can imagine, there was much mockery:
“The name of the company is Meta. It’s a cutting edge high-tech Web 3.0 company with no data and consumer exploitation issues whatsoever currently trading at a deep discount to fair value” pic.twitter.com/4cEvkgzyCl
— Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. 💸 (@ParikPatelCFA) October 28, 2021
stop trying to make meta happen pic.twitter.com/L3ZSckEAl0
— Adam Lance Garcia (@AdamLanceGarcia) October 28, 2021
Some of it gets quite dark, with The Daily Show tweaking the presentation video with a superimposition of the January 6 Capitol riots and the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist march.
Both events were organised largely using Facebook’s platform:
Nobody asked for this new Facebook feature pic.twitter.com/18pHZUX3Ej
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 28, 2021
New York progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hold back in her disapproval either:
Meta as in “we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit!” https://t.co/jzOcCFaWkJ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 28, 2021
Putting the motives of the rebrand aside, it’s also upsetting how we can’t simply say “that’s so meta” any longer.
Now Meta is something completely different, and perhaps, not so self-aware.
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