Opinion

Facebook or Meta, Can We Still Trust Zuckerberg?

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

Walking down the halls of the Facebook campus that have been mired in controversy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the newest change for his company — a complete rebrand into Meta Platforms. 

In a survey done by SightX, it was found that 39% of people believed that the company’s name change to Meta was due to poor public perception, Forbes reported. It’s not surprising since Zuckerberg and Facebook have crossed the line one too many times when it comes to securing its user’s data and, as a result,  it’s becoming increasingly difficult to put trust into the corporation. 

Zuckerberg’s announcement comes less than a month after Frances Haugen, Facebook’s former product manager, testified to Congress against Facebook’s unethical practices — mainly, hiding important information from the platform’s users, among others.

“The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the U.S. government, and from governments around the world,” Haugen, otherwise known as the Facebook Whistleblower, said during her testimony.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has seen such major controversy. Nearly a year ago, in October 2020, Facebook dealt with a lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytical data scandal. The scandal centered around Facebook harvesting data from 87 million people to use for advertisements during elections, the BBC reported. 

Not only did Zuckerberg and Facebook sell personal information, but they also had to deal with multiple major data leaks, starting as early as 2018. This year NPR reported that over 530 million Facebook users were victims of having their data stolen and sold for data mining. 

 Being one of the supposed “top digital companies” these issues should not be as persistent as they are, but the company has released multiple apology videos over the last four years. Now here in 2021, the group still faces the same issue without much clear resolve.

Under Zuckerberg, the company formerly known as Facebook has grown into a multi-billion dollar expenditure that owns WhatsApp, Messenger, Quest and other major tech and social media groups, all of which will now fall under the Meta umbrella. This rebrand comes at the heels of Zuckerberg attempting to move away from apps and “bring people together.” 

The company will now push away from having consumers use Facebook as a jumping point to its other properties and social platforms. Meta’s main focus will now become the Metaverse, which is set to become a way to connect people through virtual reality and augmented reality with “just a pair of glasses.” 

In what Zuckerberg views as a “virtual environment,” users can render the real world in 3D, travel and connect with people all over the world. An idea similar to Facebook, but through the lenses of a virtual reality headset. 

The idea of the Metaverse, which has been Zuckerberg’s pet project since first announced this past summer, will give Meta the opportunity to listen in and know what is happening and being said at all times — a proposition that worries a former Google CEO. 

“In the Metaverse, there is a tricky and maybe a little bit scary question,” Kai-Fu Lee said in an interview with Yahoo News. “The programmer of the Metaverse, the company that builds the Metaverse, will actually listen in on every conversation and watch every person.”

Knowing Zuckerberg and Facebook have both sold consumer information and have had their multi-billion dollar entity hacked, it’s hard to trust the company regardless of whatever name they choose to call themselves. 

In a capitalist society, data mining personal information happens ​​— it’s a major part of advertising. Companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks, and T-Mobile have all been known to use big data to push their brands, but they aren’t mired in as much controversy as Zuckerberg and Meta.

Technology is vital for the future of capitalism, but it’s also the future of technology. These advancements will lead the way to an improved and connected society, but can we trust Zuckerberg and Meta? We’ve all seen the science-fiction movies where AI takes over and threatens to destroy the world, so at what point do we worry about that becoming our reality? 

Personal Information and its security should be at the top of Zuckerberg’s list, not a complete rebrand into this new expenditure that will continue to draw questions. If our safety can’t be guaranteed, Zuckerberg and Meta will continue to face issues from consumers who lack the trust to invest and partake in the Metaverse and its other properties. 

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