Facebook wants to fully control your life with its own OS and walled garden

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Yesterday we discovered that Facebook has screwed up the privacy of 267 million users because of a massive data leak. Today, we learn that Zuck and his minions want to develop their own operating system to have full control of hardware and software, just like Apple does. LOL.

As The Information reports, the operating system is being developed inhouse by a team led Mark Lucovsky. He was one of the co-authors of Windows NT. 

The operating system is being designed to replace Android in future hardware devices, like Oculus, Portal, and the incoming “Orion”  augmented reality headset that Facebook seems to be getting ready for a 2023 release — just in time to go head to head against Apple. 

The move makes sense — for Facebook. After all, why do they want to depend on any other company but themselves? Why give control away to others when they can aspire to have it all for themselves?

Can it work?

However, the idea that We The People will buy into all this seems unlikely right now. 

First, the idea of developers creating and testing software for yet another operating system is a bit crazy. Ask Microsoft about Windows Phone. Or Samsung about Tizen. Then again, if we are talking about augmented reality and other internet devices that are not standard yet, there’s a chance that it may. Developers will be inclined to try new things in a new market like AR.

But then there’s the issue of — well, Facebook. A business model that relies on ads to work and has a record of ignoring user privacy and data security.

Exhibit A: this is not the first time the company has tried something similar. Its “Facebook Phone” — which actually ran a forked version of Android — was a disaster because, well, people didn’t give a damn about a phone overloaded with Facebook feed events, announcements, and ads. 

And exhibit B: that was back in 2013, when the world still thought Facebook was fantastic. Now, of course, the idea of people buying into a hardware-software ecosystem in which Zuck controls all the wires and buttons is nothing short of preposterous. I think we all have lost count on the amount of giant scandals in which Facebook has shown a complete disregard to its users privacy and data, not to talk about their inclination to allow fake news and false political advertising in their system.

Buying into a fully-controlled Facebook hardware-software ecosystem would be like saying YES! to a Nigerian oil prince when he asks you if he can be your financial investment broker with full access to all your bank accounts, your home keys, and your vote to make him President of the United States.

I’m having a hard time believing that Facebook can pull something like this off except for niche applications like VR and AR. But then again, if stuff like AR will end up being the future of our hyper-connected society, maybe I’m completely wrong here and Zuck will get his wish to have us all consumers under his thumb.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.