Mark Zuckerberg revealed his ambitions on Wednesday to have a billion people join his virtual reality world — the Metaverse — and to create a digital economy consisting of fake goods so users can 'express themselves.'
The CEO of Facebook was speaking to CNBC's Jim Cramer as he attempts to blur the lines between virtual, augmented and actual reality in his futuristic world.
'Our North Star is that by the end of the decade, we hope to basically get to around a billion people in the Metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce each, buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves,' Zuckerberg said.
'So whether that's clothing for their avatar, different digital goods for their virtual home, or things to decorate their virtual conference room. Utilities to be able to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality and across the Metaverse overall,' he added.
At a time when the U.S. economy is facing a period of inflation, and Americans are paying more than $5 per gallon for gasoline, Zuckerberg wants to pioneer what he calls the 'creator economy.'
During $META CEO Mark Zuckerberg's interview with @jimcramer, he talked about Meta Platform's focus on building the metaverse. @BeckyQuick, @andrewrsorkin, and @JoeSquawk discuss: pic.twitter.com/8EhzJvAVCG— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) June 23, 2022
'I think there's going to be a massive economy around this. It's going to create a lot of opportunity for creators,' the Harvard drop-out said. 'That's why you hear my talks about the creator economy so much. I'm just really excited about a world where you're going to have millions of more people who can do creative work that just makes them happy at their job instead of things that they might be doing today because they feel like they need to in order to make money.'
He went on to compare Metaverse's 'playbook' over the next couple of years with similar ones he previously used to build Facebook and Instagram's empires, which is to essentially 'scale monetization' after 'building services, serving as many people as possible, getting our services to a billion, two billion, three billion people.'
Zuckerberg also told Cramer he intends to lead WhatsApp's next chapter, which will include 'business messaging,' as he wants to promote e-commerce on the free worldwide messaging app.
The 'Metaverse,' which Zuckerberg once described as 'the successor to the mobile internet,' is a set of virtual spaces where you can game, work and communicate with other people who aren't in the same physical space as you.
And while Facebook is leading the charge with the Metaverse, it explained that it isn't a single product one company can build alone.
'Just like the internet, the Metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,' Facebook once said in a statement.
'And it won't be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realised in the next 10-15 years.'
Zuckerberg's plans come after he fell out of the top ten list of the world's richest billionaires in March due to his plummeting Meta stock. He currently ranks No. 17 on the list and has lost a marked $64.4 billion - more than his current net worth of $61.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Sheryl Sandberg, Meta's chief operating officer, stepped down from the Meta firm earlier in June amid an investigation over her use of corporate resources to help plan her upcoming wedding.
Sources close to Meta's inner workings told the Wall Street Journal that Sandberg, 52, made her surprise exit as the company's number two while the firm continues to review her coming wedding to Kelton CEO Tom Bernthal, the brother of actor Jon Bernthal.
Although the sources said the investigation was still active, a Meta spokeswoman insisted to DailyMail.com that: 'Sheryl did not inappropriately use company resources in connection with the planning of her wedding.'
'This has nothing to do with Sheryl's departure from the company,' the insider source added.
Sandberg shocked the business world when she announced her departure from the company on June 1, saying she was feeling 'burned out' and feeling like a 'punching bag' over the criticisms Meta and Facebook have recently faced, the WSJ reported.
The parent company, Meta Platforms, founder Mark Zuckerberg and other execs have faced mounting pressure to re-evaluate their social media services following a bombshell whistleblower report last year that revealed the company was well-aware of the negative effects Instagram was having on teens but did little to change.
And now, the Pao Alto-based company fears more backlash over its attempt to expand consumerism on its digital platforms as economists at Goldman Sachs have double the probability of the US economy tipping into recession in the next year, as they slash their growth outlook due to concerns over inflation and interest rates.
As of Thursday morning, the average price per gallon of gas in the U.S. is $5.02, according to AAA.
In some areas of the country, there are reports that the price is nearing or surpassing $7 per gallon.
Food prices have also risen quickly, impacted by rising commodities in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Groceries were up 11.9 percent last month, while food away from home rose 7.4 percent.
Prices for services like rents, hotel accommodation and airline travel were also high last month.
High inflation has also forced the Federal Reserve into what will likely be the fastest series of interest rate hikes in three decades.
By raising borrowing costs aggressively, the Fed hopes to cool spending and growth enough to curb inflation without tipping the economy into a recession. For the central bank, it will be a difficult balancing act.
Inflation in May was hotter than economists had expected, and topped the recent peak of 8.5 percent set in March
Inflation has remained high even as the sources of rising prices have shifted. Initially, robust demand for goods from Americans who were stuck at home for months after COVID hit caused shortages and supply chain snarls and drove up prices for cars, furniture and appliances.
Now, as Americans resume spending on services, including travel, entertainment and dining out, the costs of airline tickets, hotel rooms and restaurant meals have soared.
The U.S. central bank is expected to raise its policy interest rate by an additional half a percentage point in July. It's overnight rate has surged by 75 basis points since March.