The metaverse is the next chapter of the internet

How we use the internet has become more reflective of how we go about our daily lives. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But we don’t communicate just through written words, sounds or images.  We use multiple senses, body language, and spatial awareness, says Janne Elvelid, Meta’s Head of Public Policy in Sweden & Finland. 

Janne Elvelid, Head of Public Policy, Sweden & Finland, Meta

After years of development, advances in technology mean that many of these three-dimensional interactions are now possible to experience virtually. And that next chapter for the internet is the metaverse. But we’re at very early stages of its development – and just as it was hard to imagine the internet of today back in the 1990s, it’s hard to fully grasp what the metaverse will be a decade from now.

The mobile internet has already allowed people to work, learn and socialize in ways that are less limited by their physical location. The metaverse is going to take that even further. Although nothing beats being together in person, when it’s not possible, the metaverse will get us pretty close.

And the potential benefits to our society and economy are vast. Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, change the way we work and support jobs for millions of creators and developers. While it feels like a far-off vision, we can already experience glimmers of the metaverse today. VR is becoming more mainstream than ever before, and AR is already making many 2D apps better – blending digital overlays onto the physical world.

Like the internet, the metaverse won’t be built by one company. There won’t be a Meta-run metaverse, just as there isn’t an ‘Apple internet’ or ‘Microsoft internet’ today. To make it more than the sum of its parts, the different spaces need to be seamlessly interconnected – not gated off. That requires new standards, norms and technical specifications that can only be agreed collaboratively through bodies like the Metaverse Standards Forum. Interoperability and portability are key to ensuring the metaverse economy benefits — and we believe web3 technologies, like blockchain, will be fundamental to powering this functionality.

Our vision is to have a billion people accessing the metaverse as part of their daily lives within ten years. That relies on people being in control of their experiences and feeling safe and secure. Our approach will be guided by four core values: Privacy, Safety + Security, Economic Opportunity and Equity + Inclusion.

And the rules that govern the metaverse won’t – and shouldn’t – be shaped by tech companies like Meta on their own. It needs cooperation between lawmakers, academics, developers, companies and, most importantly, the people who will use these technologies. This effort must be undertaken in the best interests of people and society, not technology companies.