Facebook Finally Giving Us Something to Talk About:
It was a really bad month for Facebook. On Oct. 5, Frances Haugen, whistleblower and former employee, went public
on a “60 Minutes” interview, and things got worse from there. I’ve never seen so much negative press about Facebook.
The Facebook Papers have been revealing. NBC News shared how conservatives get pushed to QAnon
. The NYTimes
wrote about how Facebook employees sounded the alarm about election misinformation, but the company ignored it. I might suggest its summer PR battle with beloved Apple didn’t help either. The issues are not limited to the US. For example, the documents show similar problems in India — Facebook’s biggest market.
There’s a powerful report/podcast
of Kara Swisher interviewing Nobel Prize laureate Maria Ressa where they discuss the dangerous results of social media and Facebook. It’s easier to see the abuses and misinformation in the context of a different country.
This is a complex issue because it doesn’t appear Facebook has violated any laws. The laws were written before Facebook existed, and need some revisions. The problem is solving problems requires a shared reality, which Facebook both denies and profits from doing so.
Near the end of October, Zuckerberg managed to change the topic. Forget Facebook; that’s old tech — look at what’s coming (it looks the same as what was coming a decade ago). Some are debating if Meta is a continuation of Facebook’s mission (to connect people) or a pivot. It’s neither: It’s a distraction.
The metaverse doesn’t exist, and there’s no indication it’s even desired. It’s interesting for dystopian science fiction (“The Matrix,” “Ready Player One,” “Avatar,” and “The Lawnmower Man”). It is fascinating conceptually, but it’s decades ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, there’s a dumpster fire that needs attention. Note, nothing has changed since Jan. 6. Though I do like the Meta logo — it reminds me of both Webex and Mitel.
All that said, I do believe metaverses are coming. The metaverse is a concept, not a brand. An earlier name for the concept was the Spatial Web. At some point most of us will be working there (hybrid work?). The issue isn’t whether it’s coming; the issue is who will build and control it. The wrong answers are Zuck, Meta, or any centralized authority. The right answer is a distributed ecosystem, descendants of what’s occurring now in the crypto sector.
As negative as I am on Facebook, I am not opposed to Workplace by Facebook. Though it’s now caught in a bind because its close association (and familiarity) with its parent has previously worked to its advantage. Workplace is a corporate tool without ads. There’s no incentive to incite or fragment. However, any enterprise comms tool can be used for unsanctioned conversations.