Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is a social media company that has garnered billions of users across the globe. It has changed the landscape of social media just with its sheer size.
Being one of the first behemoths in the industry, Facebook had the upper hand, but not only that, Zuckerberg played his hand well.
He used the advantage of Facebook to be in control of larger portions of the social media pie. In his attempt to gain greater dominance over the industry, he bought Instagram and Whatsapp, which collectively fit in 3 of the Top 5 Most-Used Social Media Platforms across the globe.
Meta’s strategy of ‘buying the best, copy the rest’ had worked out for the social media giant.
Implementing the ‘news feed’ to mimic that of Twitter, the attempt at buying Snapchat, but once that deal went bust, Meta developed Instastories, and most recently, the release of Instagram Reels, which was clearly in response to Tiktok.
It may not seem like a big issue, but this strategy says a lot about the platform.
They are getting old and no longer appeal to younger audiences. Furthermore, it is considered one of the least popular platforms amongst millennials and Gen Z.
Facebook was developed in the February of 2004. The app would be 18 years old today if we use chronological age. In Internet age, that is old.
The strategy adopted by the giant shows that they are losing touch with users. Unable to successfully launch new ideas, they resorted to ‘stealing’ from many different up-and-coming apps.
Meta is struggling. Apple’s new iPhone updates make it harder for Meta’s advertising algorithm to target users.
These new privacy updates block Meta’s advertising trackers. Thus, advertising on Facebook would be less effective and contribute to lower conversion rates. Things that not any marketer would want.
Thus, some companies are already pulling out their Facebook advertising budget for Google.
Brimming with toxic work culture allegations, the negative impact of social media use on teens, plus the threats of up-and-coming competitors like Tiktok, Mark Zuckerberg decided to rebrand the company.
Possibly in his attempts to escape his reality of running the company, Zuckerberg shifted the company’s focus to that on the metaverse.
What’s a Metaverse? It is tech jargon for a world that does not exist.
To envision the company as the first mover in a space is one thing, but to gamble a company’s whole existence on a single item, is another.
One thing is for sure, whatever this ‘metaverse’ is, it does not exist.
In Zuck’s eyes, it is a virtual world where people can work, play, and interact without leaving home.
Fine, I have to admit that the idea looks cool. The ability to play an RPG like Sword Art Online would be a lot of fun, but let’s face it: the tech is not there yet.
The closest that we have to a working model of the metaverse is the VR goggles by Oculus. This heavy clunk of metal is meant to be attached to the head.
Imagine having that thing on your face 24/7?
“You know when I grew up it was like ‘don’t sit too close to the TV it’s gonna ruin your eyesight’ and now TV is like literally right here (puts his hand very close to his face), I’m like umm what? Is that good for you?”
Sure, to develop such technologies, considerable investments are needed, but how many of us, truthfully, would want to be online for hours on end? We are already fighting against a record number of cases of work fatigue and having blurred lines between work and play.
Meta lost $500 billion of its market value in a single day when it reported lacklustre earnings.
Furthermore, the stock price of Meta continues to tumble lower in the current geopolitical climate.
Currently, it is down 43.79% YTD.
Flailing ad revenue, disappointing earnings, and the company’s change of focus for the metaverse, investors seem to have a bearish outlook for the company.
It is clear that I am not a fan of the direction Meta is taking. I’m sure Zuckerberg’s idea of rebranding was for the company’s benefit, but can it escape its past?
It may take more than a decade to convince someone to live in a world other than the current one. If so, we also need to consider the societal and cultural implications that it would have. But, of course, that would add more friction to Zuck’s dream of the metaverse.
But hey, who am I to say. Maybe Zuckerberg does have a plan up his sleeve, and he will be our new metaverse overlord. Who knows?