“Metaverse” means “pivot to video”

Fool me twice, we don’t get fooled again.

Cory Doctorow
9 min readDec 18, 2022


“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth — stepped back to note the effect — added a touch here and there — criticised the effect again — Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In 2003, a 19-year-old Harvard undergrad named Mark Zuckerberg had an idea: he’d create a website for Harvard students to nonconsensually rate the fuckability of their classmates. He called it Facemash.

Later that year, Zuckerberg changed the name of the site to The Facebook, and, in 2005, the site was renamed, simply, “Facebook.”

Facebook originally limited its userbase to American university students, requiring a .edu email address for signups, but that criteria was swiftly jettisoned as Zuckerberg and his investors sought out new audiences to drive growth. In 2006, the site flung its doors open to anyone with a pulse, billing itself as the privacy-respecting alternative to MySpace, promising users “very granular and powerful control on the privacy . . . of their personal information.”

A year later, Facebook launched a new surveillance tool called “Beacon,” which tracked users on sites all over the internet, not just Facebook. Facebook offered users an opt-out of this surveillance, but even when users clicked “No, thanks,” Facebook continued to spy on them.

Senior Facebook executives like Chamath Palihapitiya (then Facebook VP of marketing, today an A-list celebrity investor) lied shamelessly about this, falsely claiming to the New York Times that Facebook respected the preferences of users who opted out of surveillance.

Facebook’s user manipulation, deceptive conduct, and privacy invasions prompted an exodus of users — especially…



Cory Doctorow

Writer, blogger, activist. Blog: https://pluralistic.net; Mailing list: https://pluralistic.net/plura-list; Mastodon: @pluralistic@mamot.fr