At the end of this summer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a “selfie” of his in-game avatar in front of a digital Eiffel tower to celebrate the fact that Meta’s reality-devouring project Horizon Worlds was now available in more countries. However, internet users were quick to point out that the graphics were comparable to those you would expect from a children’s game like Roblox, not from a multi-billion dollar company attempting to shape our collective virtual future.
When the Mark Zuckerberg Metaverse topic becomes the talk of the internet, it’s not always for good reasons. The Meta CEO has grown into a sort of contemporary meme, an endless source of negative reactions from users. Despite his great wealth and power, he can’t seem to persuade the public that he’s someone they can relate to.
About the Mark Zuckerberg Metaverse & its bad reputation
Whether he’s staring vacantly into a camera and talking about “smoked meats,” slathered in an alarming amount of sunscreen, or floating in front of a disaster zone via virtual reality, the Facebook founder is often jokingly compared to an AI attempting to be human. He exists on the fringe of the uncanny valley – half man, half machine.
Consequently, when Zuckerberg released a screenshot of his baby-faced avatar inside Meta’s Horizon Worlds virtual reality platform, otherwise known as his “Metaverse,” he also unintentionally revealed himself to be a prime target for mockery and memes. The new design didn’t reflect well on a project like the Mark Zuckerberg Metaverse world, which had billions of dollars poured into. One might even ask why would people want to escape to a virtual world, that looks just as lifeless as any old dentist’s office?
The swift answer
Seeing the criticism (which was impossible to miss), Mark Zuckerberg posted a response on Instagram, promising better graphics in the Metaverse. He even showed off a redesigned avatar, which looked worlds better than his previous empty-eyed choice.
“I know the photo I posted earlier this week was pretty basic – it was taken very quickly to celebrate a launch.” said Zuckerberg on Instagram. He also wanted to clarify that Horizon Worlds’ graphics “are capable of much more” and “improving very quickly.”
What does the future hold?
The pivot was incredibly quick, and it’s entirely possible that it was in reaction to the public’s jeering. Zuckerberg’s retraction mirrors that of the 2020 Sonic movie, which became a popular meme minutes after the first trailer revealed a photo-realistic redesign of Sonic that appeared to have emerged from a nightmare.
It will be interesting to see if public opinion can make a Sonic-style turnaround in reaction to the Mark Zuckerberg Metaverse, but with all the bad press Facebook has received over the years, it may take more than a good avatar to turn things around. Zuckberg’s Metaverse is trying to improve Facebook and its founder’s negative reputation, but it’s not going well so far.
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