Instagram and Facebook reportedly exploring NFT integration, and they really shouldn’t
Over the past few months, seemingly every company on earth has been searching for something to do with NFTs (non-fungible tokens), much like the initial blockchain craze from a few years ago. I’m already at my limit, and now there are reports of Facebook and Instagram looking into NFT integration.
NFTs are intended to be unique digital items with ownership verified by a blockchain (in many cases, the Ethereum network). However, blockchains don’t actually store digital items, only the links to the files elsewhere — in essence, the NFT is more like a cashier’s receipt than actual ownership of anything. Even though this model isn’t decentralized at all, which is supposed to be the whole point, more companies than ever are looking to cash in on the trend. That now apparently includes Meta, owner of Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
The Financial Times is reporting that Meta is looking into possible NFT-related features for Facebook and Instagram (via The Verge). The plans are still reportedly in early stages, but they include allowing people to set NFTs as profile pictures, and a prototype for minting new NFTs. There is also discussion at the company about “launching a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs.” Twitter was experimenting with similar features back in October, but the company (thankfully) hasn’t launched anything yet.
It’s not too surprising that Meta is looking into NFT integrations, considering the company is also dumping money into the “metaverse” concept, which calls for a Ready Player One-like unified online space (usually in virtual reality) and is frequently referenced in connection with NFTs. There’s plenty of money to be made, despite the negative environmental impact and never–ending scams surrounding the technology. Meta is no stranger to harmful technology, though — Facebook and Instagram have consistently failed to prevent misinformation, scam advertisements, and other common occurrences on the platforms.