Why I Still Deadname "Meta"

Aug 25, 2022 · 5 min read

opinion · tech

People often ask why I still use the name “Facebook” for what is now Meta. There are a few key reasons I don’t feel like the company is justified in their change of name.

I don’t believe in the “metaverse”

There are a lot of problems that I see preventing the metaverse from being completed.

Firstly, we’re nearing a global bandwidth crisis and a system such as the metaverse will require tons of bandwidth. From a technical standpoint, to accomplish what Meta hopes to accomplish, you need to be able to stream assets quick and uninterrupted to a user’s device in mere milliseconds. Most of the world doesn’t have the bandwidth capacity to do this properly even now, and with such a shortage nearing this will only get worse.

Secondly, VR equipment is underdeveloped and expensive. It’s too much of an investment for most people to move large chunks of their daily life to an ecosystem designed primarily for hobbyists, such as VR. The same goes for most companies: A business can buy two employees a new zoom-capable laptop or Chromebook as compared to getting one employee a VR headset, and that’s optimistically speaking, based on the cheaper headset options.

Thirdly, everyone and their mother thinks this is a joke, and it definitely feels like one. The tech isn’t ripe enough yet, the only live demonstrations that have been released are all super hacky and bad, and the entire thing honestly just looks like shit (Sorry metaverse fans). Nobody wants to look at an eyesore and the graphics I’ve seen so far definitely qualify as an eyesore. Proponents will argue that it will improve over time, but given the history of graphical improvement in VR, it’s going to take a while.

Lastly, people who experience motion sickness and other disabilities will have trouble accessing the metaverse. If done right, it will enable such people to experience and do things they previously could only dream of. However, realistically speaking, companies like Meta don’t put a ton of thought towards accessible technology right away, and especially not as a first party concern. For example, Twitter, after 13 years of operation, just added an alternate text for image uploads. Alt text has been an accessibility feature in browsers for nearly as long as browsers could display images. Facebook still doesn’t have such a feature, and you’d think with how quick Meta is to copy everything everyone else is doing, they’d have done it the next day.

These issues combined will slow or even halt adoption of the metaverse as a space to work or live.

The metaverse is clearly a marketing ploy

This goes without saying, but people are starting to realize their data isn’t safe on Facebook. Because of that, Facebook is losing market share.

The idea of a metaverse was concocted as a way to gain those and many other users who either left or never used Facebook. Think about it: if everyone but the privacy concerned people start using the metaverse for everything, sooner or later, it’ll become so inconvenient to not be in the metaverse, that the skeptics will have to fold and join anyway. Facebook always has (and always will) only care about your data; a leopard never changes its spots.

Mark Zuckerberg is ruining his company.

A lot of news has surfaced recently about big tech cutting large volumes of employees loose, and it started with Meta. This sort of shift, where “underperformers” are laid off on short notice is a sign of a lack of funding. This indicates that Meta has become far less profitable since the announcement of the metaverse, meaning perhaps people aren’t actually excited about the metaverse, and see it as a joke.

People are also tired of the constant NFT bullshit, and Meta has promised NFT trading will have a place in the metaverse. I think Meta failed to read the room and lost a lot of business as a result, which isn’t good. Even worse is they’re doubling down on it.

It’s not all bad

I don’t oppose the idea of the metaverse. It would make remote work a whole lot more interesting and probably a bit easier. I’d be able to sit virtually and do pair programming with my coworkers from across the world. My problem with it is mostly Facebook, and also that we aren’t ready to handle this kind of VR infrastructure.

I feel like Facebook will only make this into a dystopia where the potential exists for so much better with this kind of tech. The Oculus headset already locks users out whose Facebook accounts have been suspended, they can easily blacklist someone from getting a job if all jobs become virtual, and searching for a metaverse job will become an arms race for who has the best equipment and bandwidth.