Metaverse: how Facebook rebrand reflects a dangerous trend in growing power of tech monopolies

Facebook’s rebranding as Meta has been seen by many as the company’s latest attempt at corporate crisis control. The social media giant has been publicly attacked for creating an environment that fosters far-right extremism and violating individuals’ data privacy. Yet it also represents an attempt to rebrand the growing power of tech monopolies to shape all areas of our lives through social expansion. It points to a troubling new era of “metacapitalism” – or “capitalism on steroids” as Forbes called…

Considering the forthcoming metaverse

It’s only a vision at this point, but technology companies like Facebook are aiming to make the metaverse the setting for many online activities, including work, play, studying and shopping. How do we ensure everyone has a say in how it develops? It’s a question Shel and I considered in the primary discussion in the August episode of The Hobson & Holtz Report aka episode 210 of the For Immediate Release podcast published on August 23. We started with a…

Unpicking the vicious cycle of anger, hostility, and outrage on social networks

If you’ve been wondering why footballers get racially abused online all the time, why some people make disgusting death threats on social networks, or why presumably otherwise sensible celebrities say offensive things in their tweets about other people, a new book may well provide the light bulb of clarity you’ve been seeking. It’s certainly something I’ve wondered about: why, in the past few years, has there been such a significant and notable increase in vile behaviours online where people say…

Moving the podcast market

News that Apple’s new podcast subscription service is being delayed until June because Apple needs to tweak the Apple Podcasts app is a good reminder of how important the user experience is and ensuring it delivers on expectations. It’s also a great illustration of how a market moved. In the early homebrew days of podcasting, it was common for many podcasts to sound like they’d been recorded in the back of a garden shed on a rainy day, or the…

Subscribe or Follow a podcast: What’s in a word?

I subscribe to a lot of podcasts. Until now, I’ve never thought much about the word ‘subscribe’ and its meaning in the context of podcasts. To get a podcast, you subscribe to it. That’s the way it’s been since the dawn of podcasting back in the early 00s when we spoke of using a podcatcher to get your content. We needed to know about things like RSS feeds, the prime method for enabling your podcatcher to get a podcast each…

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