Facebook Roundup, February 2, 2022


Reuters: Meta pauses signups for social media tracking tool CrowdTangle. “Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc has paused new users from joining its social media tracking tool CrowdTangle due to staffing constraints. Meta, which disbanded the CrowdTangle team last year, has been under pressure to provide greater transparency into its platforms.”

CNET: Facebook’s latest metaverse move: Dropping avatars into Instagram. “Facebook changed its company name to Meta last fall, promising an upcoming metaverse-focused strategy that would blend VR, AR, and the company’s existing social media platforms. Today, Meta announced that its 3D VR avatars would start showing up on the company’s other apps: Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Meta’s also dipping its toes into promotional gear for avatars, introducing limited-time Super Bowl-themed jerseys.”

Mashable: Facebook-backed Diem sells assets after scrapping its cryptocurrency project. “On Monday, the Diem Association announced it has sold its intellectual property (and other assets related to the running of Diem Payment Network) to the crypto-oriented bank Silvergate for $200 million. Diem’s main product was a blockchain and a stablecoin operating on that blockchain, a special type of cryptocurrency tied to real world currencies which could be used as a sort of universal currency. And while many such products exist, Diem was originally conceived by Facebook, which turned out to be its biggest problem.”


Poynter: How to find out who is behind a political ad on Facebook. “The name of the Facebook page or account that placed the ad is always clear, but it might not tell you much. Phrases like ‘protect democracy,’ or ‘backing America’ fit equally well for both conservative and liberal organizations. There are, however, three steps you can take to learn more about who is trying to get your attention, and why.”


New York Times: How Facebook Is Morphing Into Meta. “Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of the company formerly known as Facebook, has upended his company ever since he announced in October that he was betting on the so-called metaverse. Under this idea, his company — renamed Meta — would introduce people to shared virtual worlds and experiences across different software and hardware platforms. Since then, Meta has pursued a sweeping transformation, current and former employees said.”

Media Matters: Instagram’s link sticker feature is lining the pockets of some of the platform’s most prolific misinformers . “As part of its ongoing effort to court social media influencers, Instagram has introduced new features that are effectively allowing users who regularly promote misinformation, including anti-vaccine propaganda, to profit from spreading it.”

Wired: How to Build a Better Metaverse. “THE METAVERSE, YOU may have heard, is the next big thing: an ever-present social cyberspace in which people—or their digital avatars—will work, hang out, and shop. As it happens, this was also the next big thing in 2003. That’s when Philip Rosedale and his then-company Linden Lab launched Second Life, an immersive digital platform in which users can build worlds, create art, and buy and sell digital goods. After a spike of interest, Second Life faded into the background of internet culture, but it has maintained a loyal following of people who for whatever reason prefer its virtual reality to their own meatspace.”


Protocol: Meta is looking into eye-tracking and product placement to make money in the metaverse . “A series of patents recently granted to Meta show how Facebook plans to collect biometric information like body poses and pupil movement, and use it to sell virtual ads. The documents, first spotted by the Financial Times, give additional insight into how the company plans to monetize the metaverse.”

Associated Press: EU watchdog clears Facebook’s purchase of Kustomer startup. “European Union regulators have approved Facebook parent Meta’s purchase of customer service startup Kustomer, after the social network made concessions to ease concerns the deal would squeeze out rivals. The EU Commission’s decision Thursday following an in-depth investigation clears an obstacle for the deal, which has been facing scrutiny from multiple European watchdogs over fears it would stifle competition.”


PsyPost: Anti-vaccine groups on Facebook were spreading distrust in COVID-19 vaccines before one was even developed. “A systematic study of Facebook posts by anti-vaccine groups revealed that these accounts were spreading distrust in COVID-19 vaccines as far back as February 2020 — before the US government even launched its COVID-19 vaccine development program. The findings, published in the Journal of Public Health, highlight how anti-vaccine groups got a running start on public health messaging and impeded the vaccine rollout.”

The Conversation: Police location sites on Facebook are helping drivers avoid detection for drug driving . “The last decade has seen a growing number of Facebook groups and pages dedicated to revealing the locations of police traffic operations. These Facebook communities rely on users to alert the group or page when they drive past a random breath testing or roadside drug testing operation, as well as speed and mobile phone cameras. Our study, published recently in the journal Safety Science, aimed to find out more about how these sites were being used by a sample of 890 people who take drugs.”

New York Times: I Worked at Facebook. It’s Not Ready for This Year’s Election Wave.. “The world is not ready for the coming electoral tsunami. Neither is Facebook. With so many elections on the horizon — France, Kenya, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and the United States will hold elections this year — the conversation now should focus on how Facebook is preparing.”

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