A Brave New Internet: Hacking the Narrative of Mark Zuckerberg’s 2021 Introduction of the Metaverse


  • Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar University of Groningen
  • Silvana Beerends-Pavlovic Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Bas van den Berg van den Berg The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • Gemma Coughlan Hanze University of Applied Sciences


techlash, meta, narrative analysis, future literacy, metaverse, Zuckerberg


We are entering an era of ‘techlash’: increasing unease with the hold of large technology companies over our lives, driven by fatalistic feelings of loss of agency. Neither attempts by these companies to address such concerns, such as appointing ethical committees and ombudsmen, nor grassroot initiatives aimed at user empowerment, seem effective in addressing this. This context remains unacknowledged in Mark Zuckerberg’s introduction of the Metaverse on 28 October 2021. We will show, however, that it is still implicitly addressed through its narrative. A far-reaching transformation of the way in which we use the internet is presented as desirable and unescapable, employing an epic narrative mode which values constancy of the individual and their mastery over their surroundings. However, this future is shaped by Zuckerberg and his company: promising agency for all, it is remarkable how little agency is given to the user. We juxtapose this smooth future vision with a counternarrative using the same narrative building stones, but told in a narrative mode distributing agency more equally. Thus, we engage in strategic analysis, exploring how to resist narratives such as the Metaverse’s. We call this method hacking the narrative.

Author Biographies

Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, University of Groningen

Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar (corresponding author), Minorities & Multilingualism, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, PO Box 72, 9700 AS, E-Mail: s.j.moenandar@rug.nl.

Silvana Beerends-Pavlovic, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Silvana Beerends-Pavlovic, Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries, Creative Business and Communication, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rheinspoorplein 1, 1091GC Amsterdam, E-Mail: s.pavlovic@hva.nl

Bas van den Berg van den Berg, The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Bas van den Berg, Faculty of Business, Finance and Marketing, Center of Expertise Mission Zero, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Johanna Westerdijkplein 75, 2521EN, The Hague; and Wageningen School of Social Sciences, Education and Learning Sciences, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706KN Wageningen, E-Mail: b.vandenberg@hhs.nl.

Gemma Coughlan, Hanze University of Applied Sciences

Gemma Coughlan, International Business School, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, PO Box 70030, 9704AA Groningen; and Minorities & Multilingualism, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, PO Box 72, 9700 AS, E-Mail: g.k.coughlan@rug.nl


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How to Cite

Moenandar, S.-J., Beerends-Pavlovic, S., van den Berg, B. van den B., & Coughlan, G. (2023). A Brave New Internet: Hacking the Narrative of Mark Zuckerberg’s 2021 Introduction of the Metaverse. Narrative Works, 11, 236–268. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/NW/article/view/33454