Meta's VR Has Legs—Literally, Not Figuratively [Content Made Simple]
Issue #285: The Council for Responsible Social Media. COVID misinfo on Twitter, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
Meta’s VR Has Legs Now…So…Cool?
Zuckerberg (or, rather, his leggy avatar) announced at the event that the company was going to use artificial intelligence to map out legs in the metaverse, allowing avatars the ability not only to walk and run but also to wear digital clothing for their legs (a marketplace that Zuckerberg has said he is eager to participate in; Roblox, a gaming platform I’ve written about before, currently has a comfortable share of the market). This would be a huge step to improving how users think about movement in the metaverse and how they decide to represent themselves there.
But even with legs, and even with the ability to roam the metaverse without a headset strapped to your face, the key question remains: Is Meta’s metaverse something people will actually buy into? It’s worth noting that even employees at Meta are skeptical about the company’s vision, with one going so far as to say the amount spent on these projects to date made him “sick to [his] stomach.”
It is true that, at some point probably in my lifetime, people will be spending a lot of time in something called “the metaverse.” But right now, what we’re seeing from Meta and Mark Zuckerberg—that ain’t it. This tweet summarizes my thoughts about where things are at:
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
When Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, approximately how many indigenous tribes existed north of the Rio Grande river?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
Link #1: Facebook whistleblower, former defense and intel officials form group to fix social media
A Facebook whistleblower, two former U.S. defense secretaries, several past lawmakers and intelligence chiefs are forming a new group to address the harmful impacts social media can have on kids, communities and national security.
The Council for Responsible Social Media, publicly launched on Wednesday, is a project of the cross-partisan political reform nonprofit Issue One, which focuses on strengthening U.S. democracy and works with many former members of Congress on solutions.
Link #2: Why strangers are adding you to their Instagram Close Friends and Twitter Circles
"We have to think about the backdrop of social media," Dr. Akua Boateng, the Philadelphia-based licensed psychotherapist, said. "When we think about neurochemistry, it really works on our internal reward system that is well studied by app developers and people in market psychology that really build out things that we get internal rewards."
New products that could arguably be credited to the user-developed "Finsta" account, "IG's Close Friends and Twitter's copycat Circles are a place for content that isn't meant for your entire following, just a selected group. And that little green glow that surrounds an account’s avatar tells you one thing – you have been granted exclusive access to content that others are left out of.
Link #3: COVID misinfo is the biggest challenge for Twitter’s Birdwatch program, data shows
As part of its broader open-source efforts, Twitter maintains a regularly updated dataset of all Birdwatch notes is freely available to download from the project blog. The Verge analyzed this data, looking through a dataset that spanned from January 22nd, 2021, to September 20th, 2022. Using computational tools to collate and summarize the data, we can gain an insight into the major topics of Birdwatch notes that would be hard to gain from manual review.
Data shows that Birdwatch users have spent a lot of time reviewing tweets related to COVID, vaccination, and the government’s response to the pandemic. The word frequency list shows us that “COVID” is the most common subject term, with the related term “vaccine” ranking at number three on the list.
THE FUNNY PART
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