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In the early hours of Friday morning, users opened their Facebook apps to find a strange new symbol floating on their screens

This sleek infinity symbol is Facebook’s new identity. Now, just to be clear, when we say ‘Facebook’ here, we mean the parent-company which was running the apps of Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram (basically running the internet). It is that parent-company which is now known as Meta.

Mark Zuckerberg, the visionary behind it all, explained that the change took place in line with the company’s increasing focus on two separate market segments: the first is managing its horde of applications, the second is to work on future platforms. The intention is to change its perception and operations from those of a simple social media company to a more futuristic one which develops the technology to connect people.

Zuckerberg seems to be redefining his own virtual reality, with his statements regarding Facebook – now Meta – turning into a ‘metaverse business’. The origin of the word ‘metaverse’ can be traced to a 1992 sci-fi novel, ‘Snow Crash’, which described this as a concept where people are avatars who are moving through a digital representation of the real world. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a little ominous to me. Social media is already addicting enough as it is without even more sophisticated plans in the works designed to completely enmesh one into a digital reality? Zuckerberg expects the metaverse to reach at least a billion people over the next ten years.

Moreover, the change seems to be coming at a rather suspicious time, which is why Meta has found itself buried in controversy since its first day in public. Just recently, Facebook faced multiple whistleblower incidents and news reports, testifying that the company was compromising user safety and privacy for profit. Therefore, the subsequent shift in branding is being called out by critics around the world – politicians and users alike – for being an attempt to distract the world from the whistleblowers’ accusations.

Additionally, there are many ethical concerns involved with regards to the purpose and implementation of the metaverse. Reports have disclosed that Facebook plans to target users as young as six to join the metaverse. …Can children that young even understand the age-old “the internet is a dangerous place” conversation? People are also divided over the need for such immersive experiences and technology. While some argue that it’s important to keep adapting with the times, surely some sort of barrier should be maintained between the internet and reality? It appears that Meta is attempting to weaken – if not break down – that barrier.

Some dark comparisons were also made.

Of course, the opportunity to make memes only knocks once!

The reaction to Meta remains unclear; is the futuristic technology something to feel excited about, or is this the end of human civilization as we know it? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

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