In the first episode of Boz to the Future, a monthly podcast from Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), Head of FRL Andrew “Boz” Bosworth sat down with FRL VP of Operations Rebecca Van Dyck to discuss the challenges faced by FRL while building AR glasses — both from a technological and social acceptability standpoint. In the second episode, he spoke with Instacart CEO and former head of the Facebook app Fidji Simo on the burgeoning creator economy and the important role communities play in it. For the third episode, Bosworth invited Casey Newton — founder and editor of Platformer, a publication about the intersection of tech and democracy — to share the air and discuss how the internet democratizes content creation and helps people participate in various discourses.
Prior to founding Platformer in October 2020, Newton was the long-time Silicon Valley editor of The Verge. While at The Verge, his stories on the lives of American content moderators for Facebook and Google sparked a national conversation about the working conditions for this essential but often neglected part of the workforce, and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for reporting. The weekly free edition of Platformer now reaches more than 40,000 people. In April, Newton announced Sidechannel, a community he runs with seven other independent journalists, and interviewed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on their Discord server.
In today’s episode of Boz to the Future, Newton and Bosworth discuss the broader implications of how creators can reach their audiences more directly with platform tools that allow them to build their own audiences and monetize without the need for gatekeepers. This democratization of content creation gives way to more diverse voices and creators, both on the internet and in reporting and storytelling more broadly, which is hugely beneficial for people in the arts. One potential downside to the increase in mobility we’re seeing is that people may stop putting down deep roots in their local areas, which could in turn lead to a collapse of more traditional communities. Virtualized communities can help, and the technologies Facebook and FRL are building, particularly in virtual and augmented reality, may help people stay better connected in the future. Bosworth and Newton also address the growing work-from-home phenomenon and how the technologies i tenables will impact homes and other spaces, perhaps allowing local communities to reunite and flourish.
You can tune in to Boz to the Future on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Facebook — or right here on Tech@Facebook. We’ll see you next month for a new episode.
You can also follow Bosworth on Instagram and Twitter @boztank. Follow Newton on Twitter @caseynewton and Platformer @platformer.