It’s not just in domain names where the keywords meta and metaverse are in hot demand. The New York Times did a piece today on Thea-Mai Baumann, an Australian artist and technologist. The lady has been @metaverse on Instagram since 2012. She was locked out of her account for a bit as she was improperly labeled as an impostor. She got the account back, but it had to be an anxious time for her while she was locked out.
As the build up to Facebook making their “Meta” announcement, she received offers to buy the handle. People left messages telling her she was going to become a millionaire. One more cynical poster left a message that Facebook would just take the handle.
Rebecca Giblin is the director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia at the University of Melbourne. She is quoted in the article discussing the power that Facebook has in these matters.
“Facebook has essentially unfettered discretion to appropriate people’s Instagram user names,”
“There can be good reasons for that — for example, if they’re offensive or impersonating someone in a way that causes confusion.”
“But the @metaverse example highlights the breadth of this power,” she said, adding that under Facebook’s policies, users “essentially have no rights.”
Facebook does currently have the handles instagram.com/meta and twitter.com/meta. There is another user with the Twitter handle @metaverse who has been on there since 2007, they have over 20,000 followers.
There is a market for social handles
Over the weekend someone emailed me that they sold a metaverse related Twitter handle for $1,500. They did not say what the exact handle was. About a month ago a friend said they made an offer on an Instagram meta handle and the person came back with $1m so that was a pass. Since technically buying and selling handles is against the TOS of just about every social media site, no one ever likes to give the exact name. But social media handles trade all the time and these sites would be wise to create a marketplace and make some actual money facilitating the transactions in a secure manner.