Facebook is now called Meta – responsibility comes later – economics

Thirty years ago, the food company Mars coined a well-known advertising slogan: “Raider is now called Twix – nothing else will change!” Now Facebook is going even further. In the future, the group will not only be called Meta, the new umbrella brand will also have to represent a new identity. From now on, he will no longer run a social media company, said Mark Zuckerberg, but a company that builds technology that connects people.

It would make sense to assume that Zuckerberg wants to distract from the present: Facebook files, threatened regulations, and plenty of negative headlines. The new meta-boss calls this “ridiculous,” and he’s right if you apply it only to the current crisis: No company makes such a fundamental decision in such a short period of time.

The new name has nothing to do with the past five weeks – but it has to do with the past five years. This time he taught her humility, Zuckerberg says, but so far, little has been seen. Social media doesn’t just reflect humanity, as Zuckerberg himself likes to say, it reinforces the downsides. Global networking offers opportunities, but Facebook has yet to show that it is capable of dealing with risks and side effects.

The gloomy present is one of the reasons Facebook’s metamorphosis should make people skeptical: If the company is already overwhelmed by the civilization of its platforms, what will it look like there if its founder doesn’t. interested in the future? Billionaires want to replace the monetary system with cryptocurrencies, build unnecessary blockchains, fly through space, and dream of the metaverse – there are enough real problems they could solve with their money and power.

His enthusiasm seems real

The future Zuckerberg sees is the other reason Meta should be at least as suspicious as Facebook. When he talks about his vision of the Metaverse, he raves about holograms and teleportation. The word “exciting” is used seven times in an interview, and his enthusiasm seems real.

The only question is, is it a good idea if the man who made a significant contribution to transforming the free and open network into a handful of hypercommercial ecosystems is now also shaping the metaverse? So far, no one knows exactly what this fusion of the physical and virtual world should look like. But people keep threatening and insulting each other, spreading conspiracy stories and planning terrorist attacks just because they have strange glasses on their noses.

“We don’t develop services to make money,” says Zuckerberg. “We are making money to develop better services.” The past 17 years have left a different impression. Therefore, clear rules are needed from the start, which Meta cannot write alone. Politicians and antitrust authorities should not repeat the mistake they made on the internet of monitoring and giving the market free rein – because it does not regulate anything except to ensure that few people make a lot of money.

A cookie, a layer of caramel, milk chocolate around it: Twix has tasted the same for decades, and even the old name keeps coming back. Mars releases special editions of a Raider bar every few years, otherwise the trademark rights will expire. Facebook will not disappear either, the blue app will keep its name and remain the largest communication platform in the world – with all its dangers. Therefore, the most important job for the new Meta boss would not be in the Metaverse, but on his doorstep. But Zuckerberg seems to think differently: Facebook is now called Meta – the responsibility comes later.

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