ESCAPE FROM THE META-VERSE: Or a Lesson in Overblown Damage Control From Darth Hindenburg

ESCAPE FROM THE META-VERSE: Or a Lesson in Overblown Damage Control From Darth Hindenburg

…and everything else that happened from the Facebook Connect Conference.
PHOTO CREDIT:

Just when you thought you’d had enough of people talking about how Facebook makes people detached from reality…

Facebook’s Connect Conference Thursday afternoon shook up public discourse with the company’s name change to Meta. It’s part of the social media giant’s transition to be known for something less divisive than their social media brands which are currently in a tailspin following the release of The Facebook Files just three days before.

Company founder and still CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appeared via livestream delivering an hour-long keynote presentation on the company’s strategic 180, the most popular takeaway being the company’s new title Meta, “BEYOND” in Greek (fraternity connection anyone?). Facebook’s name change hopes to better encompass its purpose and broaden its ambitions to virtual reality, though many are seeing past its show of smoke and mirrors.


The Facebook Connect Conference had been booked for its annual date, but the event’s recent name change from the Oculus Connect 2021 assumingly combats a tsunami of bad press that hasn’t calmed down since The Wall Street Journal’s early release of classified documents earlier this month.

Then on Monday following a media embargo to allow for a thorough examination of the leaked Facebook documents by company whistleblower Frances Haugen, 16 publications released breakdown reports divulging everything from vaccine misinformation data kept from lawmakers to hate speech moderation issues in Arabic dialects to shady anti-state censorship deals with the Vietnamese government. The Papers, an affirmation of Facebook’s agenda to maximize profits over ensuring safety on their platforms, was the powder keg at the end of a large scale fiascos including congressional hearings, the backlash of Instagram Kids and Messenger Kids, and accusations of anti-competitive behaviours from the FTC.

Facebook’s re-branding complete with logo adjustment, new product lines, and a total shift in mission and strategy, feels more like a detoxification than the beginning of something new. Zuckerberg is leaning hard into the name change, acquiring the twitter handle @meta, the domain meta.com which redirects visitors to a Facebook page, and a new stock ticker MVRS replaces FB officially on December 1.

Other companies have tried it, today’s literature most commonly mentions Google’s name change to Alphabet in 2015 that many consider a figurative failure, though Philip Morris converted to The Altria Group following Big Tobacco, Arthur Andersen to Accenture following Enron, and British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum in 2003, all of which like Facebook rebranded to distance from scandal and negative reputation. Facebook’s name change to Meta feels premature, considering the company’s dominant revenue source has and continues to be ad revenue from their social media brands. Its new namesake, described today as a new online 3D world where inhabitants can game, work, and socialize using headsets, is yet to be available for purchase or demo.

Despite this, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are to be grouped into a single, defined business unit, while augmented reality labs exist under a separate wing beginning in Q4. The company intends for its users to eventually not need to use their Facebook accounts to use the company’s other services.

Zuckerberg spent the remainder of his hour in a strangely chipper tone, complete with 20th century long sleeve and colander haircut, defining Horizon as the software that structures the metaverse and explaining the company’s diversification into mixed reality which combines virtual graphics with real world colour using headsets and AR glasses, an objective Zuckerberg calls Project Cambria. He boasted about how he’s pushing his teams to develop tech that could one day allow you to appear as a hologram in the real-world living room of a friend abroad on a different continent:

“Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.”

The company’s vision for the metaverse will cost $10 billion USD to develop and draws scenarios where people across the globe can use their full-bodied avatars to attend concerts, parties, & office meetings; contemplates crypto and NFTs as a fair trade bartering system; and endorses a collective metaverse with universal integration instead of various realities owned by separate entities, basically a monopoly.

“One of the big questions that people are going to have about virtual goods in the metaverse is, ‘Do I really get to own this thing? […] or is it just content that someone can basically just take away from me in the future?’ And I’m pretty sensitive to that given all the pressures that we’ve had to try to navigate around censorship, and what’s the definition of something that’s harmful versus when you have to get in the way of people being able to express something,” Zuckerberg told The Verge in reference to signature entities that operate within the metaverse.

It’s a pretty insane concept to mull over, one that raises long-term questions that the brain trust is unlikely to provide answers. Many speculate about the metaverse’s advertising capabilities and the limitless intake the company formerly known as The Facebook will have from owning an entire ethereal world. Will they have their own tax? What’s the point of entering a “real world” [which is apparently what we’re calling the Earth that surrounds the metaverse now] when there’s a digital paradise? Who will govern it? Can’t I just take the headset off? Why would I when I have created literal Nirvana on a battery charge?


What happens to our brains and bodies if we spend all day in an avatar suit in a physical dreamscape? Didn’t Facebook go down for like five hours three weeks ago? Didn’t this guy screw up social media? How is he going to pull off this beast? What happens if he gets one billion of us on this thing within the decade and it crashes?

Most billionaires are trying to get us to the moon, but if Facebook can pull off the metaverse, will we effectively be able to work virtual remotely, removing the need for a physical office? Is this going to be the new standard in computing? Somehow oddly, virtual reality undeniably continues the company’s intention of bringing people together through technology. Still, SMACK Media smells fish. Here are a few more that Zark Fuckerberg and the Company Formerly Known as The Facebook shared with the world from the Connect Conference yesterday:

Horizon Home

Facebook announced their social home space today allowing users to invite friends over to their virtual homes that already occupy their VR headsets and the liberty to customize environments in the future. The Connect Conference portrayed users receiving pop-ups in VR games or on their real-world phones and then hopping into a host’s space mimicking teleportation via push notification.

Presence Platform - The software kits

Facebook’s framework for developers to create within the metaverse promises to be extensive, allowing them to mix virtual and real-world content using Oculus and Project Cambria-related headwear. The Presence Platform is a suite of AI tools that allow creators to do everything from overlay virtual objects on the passthrough video feed, lock virtual objects to physical real-world positions, and scale match allowing for different spaces. Developers will also be able to use the Presence’s Interaction SDK which allows for hand-centric interactions. Next year developers will be able to incorporate plug-ins for interactive controls like “grab,” “poke,” “select,” and “target.” The Presence Platform also allows for hands-free voice activation for navigation, search functions, and FAQ, fundamentally installing a Jarvis in your living room.

Progressive Web Apps

Slack, Mondays, Miro, Dropbox…Office Apps and virtual whiteboards have taken over post-pandemic. Oculus looks to give virtual users more work capabilities, announcing the integration of Slack and Dropbox into the Oculus 2 which will remain as 2D apps and open as a flat window in virtual space. This means developers won’t need to build fully custom VR versions of their apps to be available on the Oculus. Facebook, Instagram, collaboration app Smartsheet, and email client Spike will be the first, with Dropbox, Monday.com, Mural, My5, Pluto TV, and Slack arriving without a promised date. Horizon Workrooms, the metaverse’s meeting room chat service, will support Zoom calls joining Facebook Messenger, which was added to the Quest earlier this year. It was also announced that Messenger would be supporting audio messages in addition to text-only.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Just to ensure that his big coming out party didn’t get swept under the Gen Z rug, Mark insured some panache for the discourse announcing that the game changing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would be coming to the Oculus 2…and that’s about it. No date, no price, no demo, no screen cap, grab, or shot. Still, the idea of being fully immersed in the GTA universe running alongside CJ abound a life scale map and jumping aboard a helicopter with a bazooka was enough to send a shock wave throughout the gaming and hypebeast communities. Earlier this morning, Snoop Dogg’s appearance on the Rolling Stone Podcast teased that Dr. Dre was workshopping new material to be unveiled in the new game. I would not expect this anytime in the near future.




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Just when you thought you’d had enough of people talking about how Facebook makes people detached from reality…

Facebook’s Connect Conference Thursday afternoon shook up public discourse with the company’s name change to Meta. It’s part of the social media giant’s transition to be known for something less divisive than their social media brands which are currently in a tailspin following the release of The Facebook Files just three days before.

Company founder and still CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appeared via livestream delivering an hour-long keynote presentation on the company’s strategic 180, the most popular takeaway being the company’s new title Meta, “BEYOND” in Greek (fraternity connection anyone?). Facebook’s name change hopes to better encompass its purpose and broaden its ambitions to virtual reality, though many are seeing past its show of smoke and mirrors.


The Facebook Connect Conference had been booked for its annual date, but the event’s recent name change from the Oculus Connect 2021 assumingly combats a tsunami of bad press that hasn’t calmed down since The Wall Street Journal’s early release of classified documents earlier this month.

Then on Monday following a media embargo to allow for a thorough examination of the leaked Facebook documents by company whistleblower Frances Haugen, 16 publications released breakdown reports divulging everything from vaccine misinformation data kept from lawmakers to hate speech moderation issues in Arabic dialects to shady anti-state censorship deals with the Vietnamese government. The Papers, an affirmation of Facebook’s agenda to maximize profits over ensuring safety on their platforms, was the powder keg at the end of a large scale fiascos including congressional hearings, the backlash of Instagram Kids and Messenger Kids, and accusations of anti-competitive behaviours from the FTC.

Facebook’s re-branding complete with logo adjustment, new product lines, and a total shift in mission and strategy, feels more like a detoxification than the beginning of something new. Zuckerberg is leaning hard into the name change, acquiring the twitter handle @meta, the domain meta.com which redirects visitors to a Facebook page, and a new stock ticker MVRS replaces FB officially on December 1.

Other companies have tried it, today’s literature most commonly mentions Google’s name change to Alphabet in 2015 that many consider a figurative failure, though Philip Morris converted to The Altria Group following Big Tobacco, Arthur Andersen to Accenture following Enron, and British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum in 2003, all of which like Facebook rebranded to distance from scandal and negative reputation. Facebook’s name change to Meta feels premature, considering the company’s dominant revenue source has and continues to be ad revenue from their social media brands. Its new namesake, described today as a new online 3D world where inhabitants can game, work, and socialize using headsets, is yet to be available for purchase or demo.

Despite this, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are to be grouped into a single, defined business unit, while augmented reality labs exist under a separate wing beginning in Q4. The company intends for its users to eventually not need to use their Facebook accounts to use the company’s other services.

Zuckerberg spent the remainder of his hour in a strangely chipper tone, complete with 20th century long sleeve and colander haircut, defining Horizon as the software that structures the metaverse and explaining the company’s diversification into mixed reality which combines virtual graphics with real world colour using headsets and AR glasses, an objective Zuckerberg calls Project Cambria. He boasted about how he’s pushing his teams to develop tech that could one day allow you to appear as a hologram in the real-world living room of a friend abroad on a different continent:

“Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.”

The company’s vision for the metaverse will cost $10 billion USD to develop and draws scenarios where people across the globe can use their full-bodied avatars to attend concerts, parties, & office meetings; contemplates crypto and NFTs as a fair trade bartering system; and endorses a collective metaverse with universal integration instead of various realities owned by separate entities, basically a monopoly.

“One of the big questions that people are going to have about virtual goods in the metaverse is, ‘Do I really get to own this thing? […] or is it just content that someone can basically just take away from me in the future?’ And I’m pretty sensitive to that given all the pressures that we’ve had to try to navigate around censorship, and what’s the definition of something that’s harmful versus when you have to get in the way of people being able to express something,” Zuckerberg told The Verge in reference to signature entities that operate within the metaverse.

It’s a pretty insane concept to mull over, one that raises long-term questions that the brain trust is unlikely to provide answers. Many speculate about the metaverse’s advertising capabilities and the limitless intake the company formerly known as The Facebook will have from owning an entire ethereal world. Will they have their own tax? What’s the point of entering a “real world” [which is apparently what we’re calling the Earth that surrounds the metaverse now] when there’s a digital paradise? Who will govern it? Can’t I just take the headset off? Why would I when I have created literal Nirvana on a battery charge?


What happens to our brains and bodies if we spend all day in an avatar suit in a physical dreamscape? Didn’t Facebook go down for like five hours three weeks ago? Didn’t this guy screw up social media? How is he going to pull off this beast? What happens if he gets one billion of us on this thing within the decade and it crashes?

Most billionaires are trying to get us to the moon, but if Facebook can pull off the metaverse, will we effectively be able to work virtual remotely, removing the need for a physical office? Is this going to be the new standard in computing? Somehow oddly, virtual reality undeniably continues the company’s intention of bringing people together through technology. Still, SMACK Media smells fish. Here are a few more that Zark Fuckerberg and the Company Formerly Known as The Facebook shared with the world from the Connect Conference yesterday:

Horizon Home

Facebook announced their social home space today allowing users to invite friends over to their virtual homes that already occupy their VR headsets and the liberty to customize environments in the future. The Connect Conference portrayed users receiving pop-ups in VR games or on their real-world phones and then hopping into a host’s space mimicking teleportation via push notification.

Presence Platform - The software kits

Facebook’s framework for developers to create within the metaverse promises to be extensive, allowing them to mix virtual and real-world content using Oculus and Project Cambria-related headwear. The Presence Platform is a suite of AI tools that allow creators to do everything from overlay virtual objects on the passthrough video feed, lock virtual objects to physical real-world positions, and scale match allowing for different spaces. Developers will also be able to use the Presence’s Interaction SDK which allows for hand-centric interactions. Next year developers will be able to incorporate plug-ins for interactive controls like “grab,” “poke,” “select,” and “target.” The Presence Platform also allows for hands-free voice activation for navigation, search functions, and FAQ, fundamentally installing a Jarvis in your living room.

Progressive Web Apps

Slack, Mondays, Miro, Dropbox…Office Apps and virtual whiteboards have taken over post-pandemic. Oculus looks to give virtual users more work capabilities, announcing the integration of Slack and Dropbox into the Oculus 2 which will remain as 2D apps and open as a flat window in virtual space. This means developers won’t need to build fully custom VR versions of their apps to be available on the Oculus. Facebook, Instagram, collaboration app Smartsheet, and email client Spike will be the first, with Dropbox, Monday.com, Mural, My5, Pluto TV, and Slack arriving without a promised date. Horizon Workrooms, the metaverse’s meeting room chat service, will support Zoom calls joining Facebook Messenger, which was added to the Quest earlier this year. It was also announced that Messenger would be supporting audio messages in addition to text-only.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Just to ensure that his big coming out party didn’t get swept under the Gen Z rug, Mark insured some panache for the discourse announcing that the game changing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would be coming to the Oculus 2…and that’s about it. No date, no price, no demo, no screen cap, grab, or shot. Still, the idea of being fully immersed in the GTA universe running alongside CJ abound a life scale map and jumping aboard a helicopter with a bazooka was enough to send a shock wave throughout the gaming and hypebeast communities. Earlier this morning, Snoop Dogg’s appearance on the Rolling Stone Podcast teased that Dr. Dre was workshopping new material to be unveiled in the new game. I would not expect this anytime in the near future.




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