Meta-stasis: Tech Giant's Reach Grows — Where Is This Headed?

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Last week Facebook Inc. FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company was transforming itself and, in so doing, boldly leading the world into its glorious, digital future — the Metaverse.

It’s no small thing that this announcement comes as the company faces increasingly bad press and calls for regulation. Meta, or the company formerly known as Facebook, has been embroiled in controversy as former employees leaked documents that shed light on the company’s knowledge of its products’ impact on individuals and society at large. 

But if you listen to Zuckerburg, Meta is doing what needs to be done, ignoring the nay-sayers. “For many people, I’m just not sure there will ever be a good time to focus on the future,” he said. He seems to be portraying himself as a brave, forward-thinking explorer charting a course into the unknown. 

But just what is this unknown? What is this splendid future? And who owns it?

The vision presented is what Meta calls an “embodied internet.”  What exactly this means remains to be seen, but the plan seems to seek immersion in the social media experience — a social virtual reality. No more looking “at,” but rather being “in.” 

For many, this kind of thinking may be the logical next step, an inevitable iteration in the digitization of humankind. But as people discovered during the events of the last 2 years, a digitally mediated experience is not exactly a replacement for real human contact. Zoom Video Communications Inc. ZM fatigue famously set in just weeks after people excitedly met for virtual happy hours. 

Make no mistake, Facebook was an $86 billion company in 2020, and Meta aims for more of the same. Monetization could be the beating heart of this new reality. Whether that takes the form of microtransactions within the experience or data harvested from its users (or likely, both) will soon be apparent.

Many are saying that the issue at hand is the power that 1 company, and really, 1 person can wield: the power to shape, mediate and influence human interaction is centralized to one locus, Meta. 

Decentralization could offer an alternative. Meta provides the infrastructure for the functioning of large parts of the cloud and the modern internet. If a decentralized network could be built that rivals meta’s centralized model, a way forward may be possible, one not set by personal gain. Cudo Ventures is a company that says it is looking to do just that with its project Cudo Compute, a collaborative consumption network platform that allows users to monetize their underutilized computing power.

If you’d like to know more, check out its website here.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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