It’s a nightmare already. Where do the hapless goobers among our citizenry get their bad ideas? Facebook. The whole damn company is an engine of disinformation, and it wants to grow, like some kind of cancerous tumor. The latest great idea to come out of Zuckerberg’s stinking maw is an implementation of the metaverse. Sounds like it could be fun, right? If you grew up on Snow Crash and Jennifer Government and Ready Player One and failed to notice that those are all horrific dystopias. Zuckerberg read them and saw his future dream. He’s been putting together his version of the metaverse, or zuckerverse, or suckerverse, and some have seen it.
First floated in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, the Metaverse is an idealised immersive successor of the internet – a virtual space where billions of users will move, interact, and operate across myriad different but interoperable worlds and situations, always retaining their avatar identities, virtual possessions, and digital currencies. It is hard to pin the Metaverse down (more on this later), but the shape one can make out amid the cyberpunk mist is some version of Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One meets Fortnite, meets virtual reality, meets blockchain. A game-y galaxy that seamlessly fuses with the Meatspace. What matters is that Metaverse is now the buzzword du jour, and that Facebook wants a piece of it. The bad news is that Zuckerberg’s Metaverse ambitions sound boring as hell.
Time and again over the interview, Zuckerberg dropped language that seemed to have been cribbed straight out of some stuffy consultancy’s 40-page insights report. He waxed lyrical about the Metaverse’s ability to increase “focus time and individual productivity”. He coined the dreary formula “infinite office”, a supposedly desirable scenario in which Metaverse-dwellers conjure up multiple virtual screens on their Oculus VR headsets in order to multitask like pros. Zuck was “excit[ed]” (!) about the Metaverse’s potential for organising VR office meetings.
If anyone could make Zoom meetings worse, it’s Zuckerberg, the dead-eyed corporate zombie. It can’t be that bad, you might think, but then you just have recall the wasteland of ads and trolls and endless lies that he turned a social service to connect friends into. Or if you don’t believe that, see for yourself what the metaverse will look like if Facebook has its way.
NEW – Zuckerberg unveils Facebook's "revolutionary" virtual "metaverse," where humans turn into comic characters and interact with each other.pic.twitter.com/a4bAWA8t02
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 19, 2021
Oh hell no.
You know, while Facebook is working hard on the VR interface that Satan will love, a right wing terrorist drove up to Washington DC with a truckload of, he claims, potassium nitrate and detonators, and parked by the Library of Congress, demanding to speak to President Biden, or he was going to blow everything up. The Capitol has been evacuated. He has been live-streaming his threats and rants over Facebook.
It has taken Facebook three hours to notice and shut him down.
Facebook just locked the bomb threat guy's page after three hours of live streams
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) August 19, 2021
That’s a rapid response from the company that has allowed fascists, quacks, conspiracy theorists, and anti-vaxxers to thrive for over a decade. They will not get better. This is what they do: provide a profit-making forum for the very worst, most sensationalist ideas, so don’t wait for them to do anything that might harm the bottom line.
We’re going to have to do something. The good news is that the FTC has reopened their antitrust case against Facebook.
“Facebook lacked the business acumen and technical talent to survive the transition to mobile. After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat,” said Holly Vedova, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
Facebook did not immediately respond to request for comment, but the company said on Twitter that it was reviewing the case.
The filing is also the most high-profile action to date under the agency’s new Democratic majority, helmed by Big Tech critic Lina Khan. Khan inherited the Facebook case from the previous Trump-appointed chair, but her ability to see it to a successful conclusion could define her legacy as an antitrust enforcer.
Burn them down, please. And then nationalize a simple communications service that allows me to chat to family and friends without having to wade through the offensive glop the kooks flood everyone with.