Meta’s monopoly is seriously under threat as the company loses over $800 billion in its market value after years of mismanagement as well as a failure to innovate. A money-draining metaverse venture that seemingly no one wants is to blame for its downfall. To be clear, the company is one of the biggest tech firms in existence, with billions of people regularly using its products, which makes their failure all the more dubious. So, how did Meta get here?
It all started when a whistleblower controversy first broke a year ago. The first signs that Congress would actually take action against Facebook emerged. The Facebook Papers, a set of leaked documents, exposed the negative effects the company has on adolescents, its apathy towards misinformation and its algorithmic toxicity. As a result, US Representatives were threatening antitrust action and activists were demanding a break up. Things were looking pretty bad.
It was right after this that Facebook immediately pivoted to the Metaverse after weeks of scandal that were barely addressed.
What is the Metaverse? It is a bold digitization of our world that is supported by hardware and infrastructure that hadn’t been built yet. If you wanted to meet with remote colleagues with a heavy computer strapped to your face instead of just using Zoom, the Metaverse was the place to be.
Metaverse was more of a money-burner than anything. Reality Labs, Facebook’s Metaverse fantasy team, burned through $4.5 billion in 2019, $6.62 billion in 2020 and $10.19 billion in 2021 (that’s over $21 billion). Zuck promises that this new world he’s building should be ready in 10 to 15 years. Meta’s stock has fallen about 70% this year.
Meanwhile, as Zuck whips the Metaverse around, it continues to be slammed with controversies. Amnesty International charged the tech giant with “substantially contributing” to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohyinga in Myanmar. Instagram was also fined $400 million for its improper handling of children’s data in Europe.
Zuck still maintains the Metaverse is coming. As proof, during the same month, Meta shows off a video at a company event where it boasts that its avatars — which, until this time, have just been disembodied torsos—will soon come equipped with legs and feet. This is comical considering the company is out billions of dollars and the avatars… still don’t have legs.