Facebook is still Facebook. ‘Metaverse’ will only give your aunt’s misinformation group more ways to reunite

Remember when Facebook was about “shoving” friends and posting “Happy Birthday” on people’s walls?

Well, the social media platform that has become a breeding ground for violent, far-right, racist, white supremacist, and anti-vaccination groups and movements, just announced a new idea: create even more space for its large audience. from angry and misinformed users. to connect.

This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would change its name to “Meta.” Along with the update would come the creation of a new online world, the “metaverse.” Think of a virtual reality Sims game, where you can roam around in your own virtual body and invite Facebook friends as “guests” in your virtual home.

Sounds like a wonderful idea, right? Especially since people around the world have faced further separation from their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, wouldn’t it be great to create a virtual workspace so that we could all work from home while pretending we are all at work (in a virtual office?).

While new technology always sounds fun, yes, you can create an avatar that looks exactly like a mini-you and choose outfits, this also opens up a new portal from hell space on a platform that is already riddled with misinformation and anger. .

The thing about Facebook is that it’s not just another online space. Often times, the violence that permeates many Facebook groups seeps onto the streets.

Think about the assault on the United States Capitol on January 6. Facebook was essential as an organizing tool. Facebook is also the place where anti-vaccines should gather to plan events to yell at and harass healthcare workers outside of hospitals.

The platform also has a history of breeding terrorists, such as the Christchurch shooter, who used Facebook to plan his attack with other like-minded people, eventually carrying out the mosque murders in Facebook Live. Fifty-one people died, 40 were injured. That same year, the Norwegian mosque attacker did the same and broadcast the killings via Facebook Live. He later credited the The Christchurch shooter as inspiration.

These extreme ideas are often gleaned from active participation in far-right groups and from the pages of white supremacist “influencers.” Studies show that far-right misinformation is one of the main reasons Facebook continues to thriveAnd in return, posts promoting the hate-filled agendas of the far right are seen more than any other post on the platform.

A simple scroll down Facebook Top 10 The Twitter page also reflects this. Using an algorithm, the account publishes the top Facebook posts per day per engagement, that is, from a “like” to comments and how many times it has been shared. Constantly recurring names (often appearing more than once as one of the top posts of the day) include Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, and Fox News, to name a few.

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal also shows a history of privacy breaches and how the company illegally capitalized on its users. Up to 87 million Facebook users obtained their information and exposed it to an investigator at the British political consulting firm that provided analytical data to advise Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. This prompted Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, which fined him $ 5 billion for violating his privacy violations.

And in early October, a Facebook whistleblower exposed the company’s knowledge of internal investigation into how its products harm children, magnify hatred and misinformation, and fuel polarization in the US.

So why in the midst of all this Facebook is introducing even more technology when it has failed to uncover its own massive flaws that have led to death and destruction?

Zuckerberg hopes the new technology can appeal to a younger audience, which Facebook has been missing since around 2012 when the platform saw a drastic decline in that demographic. It’s also not connecting with the new generation, Gen Z, who often start their online presence on TikTok and Instagram (granted, Instagram is owned by Facebook).

There is no doubt that the image of Facebook has been corrupted for a younger generation that embraces change and fairness. Among many young people, Facebook is seen as a place for “that family aunt” to bring fake news to a like-minded conspiracy-theorist cult demographic.

On a broader scale, Facebook is also experiencing a deterioration in image among the general population. TO recent study found that 40 percent of Canadians had a negative view of the social media platform, and half of those surveyed said it should be regulated or divided.

With his latest adventure, the problem is not the “metaverse” idea. Virtual reality, a slow-growing space with its own fishing problems and virtual harassment, already exists on dozens of gaming platforms. Right now, you can play video games like “Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality” or “Beat Saber” with others in a virtual body.

But imagine this. A mob of far-right insurgents gathers in the hope of carrying out another attack. Instead of communicating through Facebook Messenger, they log into the “metaverse,” a virtual world where they can communicate by physically moving and talking to reflect their actions online in an environment of their choice. Talk about a test.

With Facebook’s history of misinformation, there’s no reason to trust that it’s not just spreading its dangerous existing world into a new, seemingly more real interface. Covering a sinkhole by building a new (virtual) mansion on top of it will only lead to further destruction.


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