Matt Hancock has become the first MP to join the Metaverse, the virtual reality platform launched by Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg.
The former Tory health secretary shared his personalised avatar on the “exciting” online venture – sparking strong reaction on social media where the image was described as “creepy”.
Some commentators suggested they would need therapy after seeing the virtual version of Hancock, while others noted that the ex-cabinet minister looked more “buff” in the Metaverse.
Hancock’s avatar was also compared to Succession character Kendall Roy, TV host Judge Rinder and the infamous bronze statue of Manchester United star Ronaldo.
The Tory MP – who believes the Metaverse should be “open and free” – joined an event run by tech firm Shift designed to help organisations arrange networking events in the virtual world.
In a talk entitled ‘Web 3.0: What The Future Holds and Why It Must Be Open and Safe’, Hancock shared his concern about the Metaverse becoming a platform owned and run by the few.
The former health secretary – who left government last July after he was caught kissing aide Gina Coladangelo at work in breach of Covid guidelines – launched his own app back in 2018.
“I’ve long been interested in innovation, and the way technology can transform and improve the way we live,” Hancock said. “The Metaverse is an incredibly important and exciting new technology,”
The MP said putting on the headset “and not only seeing but hearing myself within the Metaverse was great fun”.
He added: “We’ve got the opportunity right now to make sure that the next generation of communications is not only open and free, but defined by open standards – not just a small number of organisations.”
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg has admitted that his own avatar – a selfie in front of a virtual Eiffel Tower – was a little “basic” after it was widely mocked online.
He shared the image as part of the launch for Horizon Worlds, his latest application for the Metaverse. Zuckerberg has said he expects the virtual world to reach more than one billion people within a decade.