The future of Facebook or Meta now hinges on the adoption of a virtual world by users/ consumers in large numbers
Facebook’s reputation has been tarnished as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data breach and the information made public by whistle-blower Frances Haugen. They have increased social backlash, regulatory scrutiny and the potential for future restrictions on platform revenue models.
Moreover, companies like Apple have added to the challenges by making it more difficult to monitor customers across apps, by asking users for express permission to track them.
Many of the younger consumers have abandoned Facebook and are exhibiting symptoms of losing interest in Instagram.
This weakening of Facebook’s ability to follow users has a negative impact on the company’s revenue. Not surprisingly, the market capitalization of Facebook/ Meta fell dramatically in the recent past
Will Meta Be Recognised
The digital world is entering a new phase at this time. And Facebook/ Meta intends to attach itself to this virtual environment in which people are increasingly spending more and more of their time thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
Snow Crash, a dystopian novel written in the 1990s, is the inspiration for the concept of escaping the real world into a virtual one. Zuckerberg is attempting to reclaim the metaverse that will open up an entirely new market of virtual products and services.
In 2003, there was Second Life in the virtual world, perhaps a little too early some may say. In order to engage with others and earn and spend virtual currency, users establish avatars (i.e. online characters).
What drew Meta to virtual reality? Virtual reality (VR) can be found in a wide range of applications, including video gaming and a number of other fields. Consumers’ desire to spend time in the metaverse will have a significant impact on the commercial possibilities. Virtual reality may be more enticing than it sounds right now because of the advancements in technology that will make it more realistic. Plus, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s global user base can be leveraged by the company. Because of Meta’s advertising and commercialization-based model, its goal grows in magnitude.
Meta’s Potential in the Access Economy
Some of the most important advantages of a virtual reality-based metaverse include ease of use and realism. If consumers find it enjoyable to live out their fantasies in their own homes and if we can work, learn, socialise, play, consume, and be entertained in a metaverse that is more like our real-world environment, we will spend more time there.
For companies whose revenue comes from digital commerce and advertising, “engagement” is critical. Meta’s metaverse, a virtual environment accessible via many smart devices, is intended to achieve this goal.
Engagement can happen in many ways. Through social networking, Meta/Facebook connects with us. Amazon keeps us interested by offering a variety of products and services to choose from. Google does it through search and videos. The most important thing is to collect a lot of user data, which is tech’s most precious resource, and employ complicated machine learning techniques and AI to better personalise offers.
Consumers may spend more time in a virtual environment than they do on any of today’s most popular platforms. Consumers may never want to leave the metaverse since it will serve as another reality. As a result, they have the potential to create more user data than any of the major web platforms currently have.
It is possible for Meta to use this enormous database to precisely target consumers and deliver them to virtual destinations (like Second Life). These destinations can be of different types – entertainment/ gaming centres, stores etc. Meta can lease out these areas/ stores to brands, just as brands have had to rent space in shopping malls since that was where customers spent their time because they will soon be a vital distribution channel.
This might make the metaverse a necessary place for corporations to communicate with their clientele, whether they’re consumers or business clients, in the future. As a result, Meta may be more equipped than any other major digital business to manage and charge for other companies access to its users.
Because of this, Meta has a high possibility of dominating this new expansion of the digital domain, resulting in an “access economy” of sorts.
Meta’s supremacy will ultimately be determined by other internet businesses too, who will have to establish their own virtual worlds if the metaverse is effective in diverting our attention away from competitive platforms.
Meta will be able to collect and monetize ever more data if it can lure users into a world where they never want to leave. Customers’ inner lives, such as their tastes and beliefs, will become increasingly visible to Meta, which will have the unfortunate effect of shaping Meta’s perceptions of those customers. People gladly receive the goods they desire, unknowing that they have been conditioned to desire them.
It is a strategic bet and only time will tell if Zuckerberg and Facebook/ Meta is correct.