What is the metaverse? the new universe with which Facebook will stop being a social network

Facebook new metaverse

In just over a week, Facebook will cease to be Facebook. But beware: it is not just a business name change that will be announced by its creator, the one now pursued by the law Mark Zuckerberg, but something that will take – at least, so he assures – a step further, something that will transcend the simple Like or Dislike, the posting of news, or cooking recipes, birthdays and family vacations: it will mean the end of the social network as it was understood until now and the entry into the world of the “Metaverse” ´.

And what is the Metaverse?

In truth, no one knows exactly yet, but it is, according to the most usual technical definition, an open virtual environment in which experiences can be shared with other people (our contacts on the network) in an almost experiential way, and which will be the successor to the current mobile internet.

Zuckerberg wants this technology to go beyond two-dimensional Facebook to become an “augmented reality” company. Facebook currently has 3 billion active users, who in this way would be tagged and interconnected in a kind of comprehensive and multimedia platform. Zuckerberg presented the Metaverse at a virtual conference last July.

“It is the future we are working on,” he said. “A virtual environment in which you can be present with your friends in a digital space. An embodied internet in which you are inside”. The creator of Facebook is convinced that augmented reality glasses, which will connect us with our “contacts” on the social network as if we were in person with them, and in the space we choose, will be as common in the future as cell phones from today. Something like making real some of the chapters of the dystopian series “The Black Mirror”, which can be seen on Netflix.

Demand

All of this happens when Facebook goes through one of its darkest moments before the law. Yesterday Washington Attorney General Karl Racine said he listed Zuckerberg as a defendant in his lawsuit against the company over the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal in 2018. “Our investigation revealed that Zuckerberg was personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data,” he added.

According to the lawsuit, Facebook violated users’ privacy by allowing Cambridge Analytica, a UK political consulting agency, to obtain personal data from users, including millions of Americans. In 2019, a judge rejected a motion by Facebook to dismiss the lawsuit. Similarly, Facebook was forced to create an independent committee for privacy issues, over which Zuckerberg would have no control.

Metaverse

Facebook will change its name

The scoop on these changes came from the U.S. technology publication The Verge, which also added that the legal problems facing the company could have accelerated them. “A corporate name change would give Facebook the opportunity to introduce a new image of itself,” The Verge said “amid an intense investigation by lawmakers and regulators into its alleged damages. Facebook’s practices have attracted even greater attention following recent allegations by a former employee who claimed that the company has prioritized benefits over security (allegations Zuckerberg has denied).

The U.S. Congress also wants to establish enforcement of antitrust laws on social media, but there is still no consensus on how to proceed.

Facebook’s new corporate name would encompass its individual applications and business units, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. Zuckerberg is scheduled to speak about all of these changes at the “Facebook Connect” conference on October 28, but the new corporate name could be announced earlier, according to The Verge.

The Verge speculated that a possible name could focus on “Horizon,” a virtual reality version of Facebook that has yet to be released. Facebook’s virtual reality division, Oculus, pioneered headsets, funding the creation of virtual content. Facebook has created a team dedicated to the metaverse and a few days ago announced its plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe to work on the project.

The Verge recalled that the term “metaverse” was coined by novelist Neal Stephenson to describe a virtual world to which people escape from a dystopian real world. The specialized publication, however, omitted to mention “The Invention of Morel”, by Adolfo Bioy Casares, which anticipated Zuckerberg’s project by several decades.