Daily Management Review

Facebook Rebrand Fails To Impress Metaverse Pioneers


Facebook Rebrand Fails To Impress Metaverse Pioneers
Facebook is trying to benefit from a growing buzz called metaverse even while it had not created the concept, said early adopters of the concept of virtual worlds – metaverse, as they criticized the social media company’s attempt to rebrand itself by changing its name to Meta Platforms.
This year, the tech world is abuzz with the term metaverse with a growing keenness among companies and investors to participate in what is being called the next big thing in tech. Users, on the other hand, have been spending time in these rapidly increasing but obscure virtual worlds for years.
"They are essentially trying to build what many of us have been building for years but rebrand it as their own," said Ryan Kappel, an American who for more than two years has hosted meet-ups in different metaverses.
There was no comment available from Facebook to the criticism.
The announcement for the change of its name by Facebook, in addition to information on its intention to create its own immersive digital world, came in last week and comes at a time when increased scrutiny from legislators and regulators is being faced by the company over its market dominance, algorithmic judgments, and policing of abuses on its platforms.
Users may move around as an avatar, meet friends, and play games in virtual environments. Some of the blockchain-based platforms also allow users to speculate on virtual real estate.
"I think Facebook has made this early name change to essentially secure the new trademark legally as soon as possible as more brands become interested," said a UK-based crypto investor known as Pranksy, who said he first bought virtual world real estate around early 2020.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the rebrand felt "rushed... kind of like trying to insert themselves into the metaverse narrative which is happening right now", said Artur Sychov, who founded metaverse Somnium Space in 2017.
Up to five hours a day in Somnium Space is spent by Sychov, along with 1,000 to 2,000 other daily users.
Facebook's approach may be resisted and criticized by users of metaverse who are suspicious of the company's control over the content, according to Dave Carr, communications head at the organization that operates the virtual world Decentraland.
"People who want to determine the future of the virtual worlds they inhabit, maintain ownership of their creative output, and move freely between them will choose the decentralized version," he said, describing Decentraland's metaverse environment as decentralized and Facebook's plan as likely centralized.
Decentraland views itself as a competitor to traditional social media platforms that sell user data and control what users see. Decentraland was launched in 2017 and today has over 7,000 daily users.
Blockchain technology forms the basis of many of the current metaverse platforms which helps to completely eliminate the possibility of central control. The distributed-ledger architecture that underpins cryptocurrencies is known as the blockchain. People in these virtual worlds buy land and other digital goods with cryptocurrency in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Early metaverse adopters, on the other hand, did not all have a negative reaction.
Some speculated that there could be an increase in interest in virtual worlds in general with the arrival of Facebook into the sphere and be able to attract more users and facilitate the creation of various virtual worlds.
He had initially reacted in a negative way to Facebook's announcement since he opposes the corporation's data-selling practices, said Tristan Littlefield, co-founder of NFT business nft42 and a metaverse member since 2018.
But "having a behemoth like Facebook come in and just dump billions of dollars ... could be a positive" because of the new people it would bring to the space, he said.