Review of Zuckerberg: The Metaverse’s Ruler – it will only increase your fear of the internet.
Before its restructuring in 2015, Google’s unofficial motto was “Don’t be evil”, which is an unusual statement for a company to make. This should have served as a reminder that the default stance of big tech companies may actually be unethical.
Facebook’s famous slogan, “Move fast and break things,” seemed less concerning until recent years when it became apparent that the platform could potentially harm democracy. As early as 2011, people were voicing concerns about the immense power held by this social media giant, especially after its role in the Arab Spring uprising. These concerns grew louder when Facebook expanded into Myanmar without seeking advice from experts or activists. The company’s lack of caution was blamed for exacerbating the Rohingya massacre, as it allowed hate speech to spread unchecked.
However, there is not much that can be done about it. The question at hand is purely rhetorical and highlighted throughout the two-hour film, “Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse”. Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room at the young age of 20 in 2004, is the CEO of the social media platform that currently connects 49% of the world’s population. Some may even refer to him as its “dictator”, as stated by one of the many individuals featured in the documentary. With a personal net worth of approximately $100 billion, he is likely the wealthiest self-made individual in history.
“Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse” is a comprehensive account of the company, which successfully avoids being overwhelmed by the sheer size and rapid growth of the enterprise, a trap that many other shows on the same subject fall into. Instead, it features former colleagues and critics (with no apparent overlap) who analyze the company’s rise and somewhat decline as a powerful and sprawling entity. They delve into its business model and the influential algorithms that operate behind the scenes, which also apply to other popular websites that we rely on for our social interactions and purchases.
In between, there are also clips from the 2018 congressional hearings where Zuckerberg, after being threatened with a subpoena, was forced to testify before the US Senate about his platform’s use of personal data. This was in response to the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, which collected data from 87 million individuals and used it to specifically target potential voters.
The hearings left critics dumbfounded by the lackluster questioning he faced (“It could have been a pivotal moment. But it seemed like your father was the one asking the questions”). The opportunity to oversee Zuckerberg and the tech giants slipped away like grains of sand.
If the movie disregards recent occurrences, such as the rampant use of Facebook by groups involved in the 2021 attack on the Capitol in Washington and the revelations made by Facebook product manager Frances Haugen during her congressional testimony, where she provided substantial evidence to support her claims that the company prioritized profits over safety despite being aware of potential harm, doesn’t that reflect the world as well?
The title does not offer much insight or new information about Zuckerberg, despite its suggestion. It briefly mentions his competitive nature, intelligence, and recent rebranding as a family-oriented individual. However, the author fails to provide a clear understanding of Zuckerberg’s character. Is he malicious? Or does he truly believe in bringing people together, despite the unforeseen consequences of his actions?
The specific details may not be significant. What truly counts is the development itself, not the individual behind it. It is evident now what the purpose of it is, its potential, and the possible consequences if not controlled – possibly by individuals who comprehend the workings of the internet and recognize the potential benefits of monitoring the largest global experiment ever conducted on a population. The dynamic between people and the metaverse? It is intricate. And potentially hazardous.