Despite mainstream media claims that Meta and Mark Zuckerberg intend to pivot from the metaverse, it is clear that the immersive web remains a big part of the company’s future plans. Perennial skeptics are nevertheless attempting to use Meta’s most recent round of job cuts to construct a false narrative around the metaverse.
What Zuckerberg actually saidOn Tuesday Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta would cull a further 10,000 jobs from its workforce following earlier layoffs of 11,000 in November. In a 2,000+ word letter, Zuckerberg covered far more ground than that, as the Meta CEO outlined some of the most important technology trends that will shape the company over the near to medium term. As Zuckerberg points out, one of the most important will be how the company applies AI to its apps and services. “I believe that we are working on some of the most transformative technology our industry has ever seen,” said Zuckerberg.
“Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products. We have the infrastructure to do this at unprecedented scale and I think the experiences it enables will be amazing.”Mainstream media has made much of the fact that the single biggest investment from Meta in the immediate future will be AI. The quote prompted CNN to ask “What metaverse?” and Business Insider to declare that Zuckerberg and Meta are moving “away from the metaverse.” In reality, Zuckerberg’s letter immediately goes on to add:
“Our leading work building the metaverse and shaping the next generation of computing platforms also remains central to defining the future of social connection. And our apps are growing and continuing to connect almost half of the world’s population in new ways.”During the course of this most recent address to staff, Zuckerberg mentions the metaverse two times and AI three times. Fairly poor evidence that the company is turning its back on the virtual realm.