Seize the data

By el Prof
January 20, 2022
Image: Reddit

There’s been some social media hype recently regarding Meta (totally, maybe, eventually) officially entering the metaverse. Color me yowza’d. 

Turns out, despite an onslaught of obligatory thinkpieces, this pomp and circumstance (read: a couple high profile tweets) is as devoid of quality and content as the company involved. Basically, back in December, a lead with the Instragram product team said the platform is actively investigating how to integrate the display and sale of NFTs through the platform. So, like, the company infamous for making an over-publicized pivot into blockchain tech is now exploring blockchain tech. Or, as we like to call it in web3 world, breaking news. 

To be fair, hype and speculation is exactly what web3 success is built on, a lesson Zucc has clearly learned since 2019. (Check out $LIBRA, Facebook’s smash success of a cryptocurrency, to see what I mean.) But what bothers me isn’t really the obvious redundance of this news cycle. Rather, it’s that Meta, despite rebranding as the same custodial data wallet that the most promising web3 companies hope to build, continues to use their web2 advertising strategies to extract value from users, contradicting the whole damn point of a decentralized ecosystem in the first place.

If you’ve been following the letter for a while now, you know we recently launched our own NFT collection, sn0bs, to experiment with using web2 tools to create a user-friendlier web3. We tried to use Facebook to promote them. We promptly got banned. Why? For selling a blockchain product. I know right? So Meta of them. Honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if Meta’s NFTs were not compatible with any blockchain but their own — which is no longer Libra, by the way, but now Diem. Personally, I prefer Carpe. They sure do know how to seize the data. 

As a former Google Ads product expert, I like to think I’m pretty well-versed in FAANG companies’ data fuckery. Web2 giants — and the VCs backing them — love their walled gardens, and hate any innovations that threaten them. Their entire business model revolves around centralized ownership of your information, the literal opposite of the theoretical utopia of democratized data that stays giving hard-ons to degens. Blockchain integration and a new name won’t change a thing. 

Maybe one day someone will show consumers how valuable their data really is, and they’ll stop giving it to Facebook for free. Until then? Well. We all know Zucc’s track record with democracy.

el Prof

el Prof

hey, i'm el prof, but most people call me Connor. Thanks for reading.

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