Oct 28, 2021: The Information’s Creator Economy Summit

Art by Sam Lessin
Modest Proposals
Facebook

Instagram Is the Real Virtual Reality, Not Oculus

Photo: Art by Sam Lessin

An odd thing occurred to me while watching Facebook’s F8 developer conference earlier this month. Amid announcements about new form factors for Oculus and a slew of updates on camera effects and lenses, I realized Facebook’s play for virtual reality is Instagram, not Oculus.

Instagram over time has developed three of the major components of Virtual Reality. First, the content is increasingly disconnecting from the “real” world and tending toward pure fantasy. Second, the “people” with whom you interact are increasingly professional characters in a game, not real people. Finally, the platform itself is becoming a self-fulfilling and self-contained economy unto itself rather than an extension of real-world society.

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