Facebook’s Rebranding is Eerily Dystopian

The+social+media+application%2C+Facebook%2C+now+part+of+the+social++network+known+as+Meta.+

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The social media application, Facebook, now part of the social network known as Meta.

Madison Rojas, Entertainment & Diversity Editor

PASADENA, California– Well, it looks like the world’s only functioning artificially-intelligent robot, Mark Zuckerberg, has come up with another groundbreaking idea to turn our current society into that of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. On October 28, the company formerly known as Facebook announced that they are changing their name to “Meta” and creating a new virtual reality program, “Metaverse”, in a video release featuring Zuckerberg and his awkward acting abilities. 

Meta’s goal is to combine all companies owned by Zuckerberg (including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp) into a unified social network called Meta. A new aspect of Meta is the Metaverse, a virtual reality space that would connect all its users through the Oculus VR goggles. Through Metaverse, users would be able to create avatars, go on virtual trips, and connect with friends all using virtual reality and augmented reality. While Metaverse seems like a harmless attempt of connecting people together, it is eerily similar to a 1992 dystopian novel titled Snow Crash. 

In his 1992 book, Snow Crash, author Neal Stephenson introduced the word “metaverse” to readers around the world. The book paints a picture of a world in the future in which life takes place in virtual reality to escape an over capitalized society where America has become overrun with corporations and materialism. Similar to many dystopian books, Stephenson’s novel is a commentary on rapidly growing capitalism which continues without care for humanity, life, and the well being of society. 

Yet, today, Zuckerberg has turned this term stemming from an anti-capitalist work into an inherently capitalist venture. Zuckerberg attempts to profit more off of human nature’s desire to interact with one another by creating a totally virtual world for “connection” to take place. 

That Zuckerberg’s new venture seems straight out of a dystopian novel is quite concerning. Just as controversy surrounds the Silicon Valley tech giant, Zuckerberg aims to rebrand his company whilst creating a totally virtual segment of social media. But is making social media so powerful that it affects our perception of reality the best idea? 

Recently, Facebook has been under fire after a whistleblower came forward and revealed that social media is doing significant harm to the mental health of teenage girls, further emphasizing the negative effects that this new “Metaverse” would have on society. The former Facebook data scientist and current company whistleblower, Frances Haugen, revealed in her testimony to the United States congress that studies conducted by Facebook found that about 21% of US teen girls and 25% of UK teen girls say that Instagram made them feel worse about themselves. With new evidence arising about social media’s significant negative impact on mental health, especially on teenagers, Metaverse seems like a harmful attempt at creating a more influential social media landscape. 

The concept of a virtual world to foster human interaction seems like a good idea, but concerns arise around what this means for our future. Why travel to different places around the world when you could stay home and experience new worlds with Oculus goggles? Why enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach when you could simply visit the beach virtually? Like all social media, Metaverse must be used with limitations and restraint. It seems like Zuckerberg is attempting to create a world that will draw users in with the same addicting algorithm as other social media apps. Although Metaverse is an impressive technological feat, people must not let it replace real life experiences and connections.