Facebook Update, February 7, 2022


Washington Post: Facebook loses users for the first time in its history. “Facebook parent Meta’s quarterly earnings report on Wednesday revealed a startling statistic: For the first time ever, the company’s growth is stagnating around the world. Facebook lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year history — falling by about half a million users in the last three months of 2021, to 1.93 billion logging in each day. The loss was greatest in Africa, Latin America and India, suggesting that the company’s product is saturated globally — and that its long quest to add as many users as possible has peaked.”

BBC: Meta moves to tackle creepy behaviour in virtual reality. “Meta has announced a new feature to allow more personal space for people’s avatars in virtual-reality worlds. The metaverse is still at concept stage but the latest attempts to create virtual worlds are already facing an age-old problem: harassment.”

Bloomberg Quint: Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Gets Quiet Rollout in Facebook-Wary D.C.. “Mark Zuckerberg has a problem money can’t fix: convincing Capitol Hill that the metaverse — whatever that is — isn’t evil. His strategy is to start with a soft campaign to woo Washington insiders before deeply skeptical lawmakers begin to debate the controversial company’s next act. This is a change of gears for a Silicon Valley behemoth whose early motto was to ‘move fast and break things’ and that outspent all its peers to fend off legislation to curb the dominance of Big Tech.”


MarketWatch: Meta stock hits 52-week low as European leaders buck at threats to shutter Facebook and Instagram. “Meta Platforms Inc. said again last week it is considering pulling the plug on Facebook and Instagram in Europe, leading to pushback from European leaders as shares hit a new 52-week low Monday. European regulators have voiced plans to craft new legislation that will dictate how EU citizens’ user data gets transferred across the Atlantic, and Facebook parent Meta… disclosed in its annual report that it could pull services out of the continent as a result.”

The Guardian: US anti-vaccine mandate campaigners aim to mimic Canadian convoy tactic. “US organizers operating a Facebook group called Convoy to DC 2022 quickly gained more than 100,000 members and announced a convoy next month. But the Facebook group was recently removed by Meta.”

New York Times: 6 Reasons Meta Is in Trouble. “Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, suffered its biggest one-day wipeout ever on Thursday as its stock plummeted 26 percent and its market value plunged by more than $230 billion. Its crash followed a dismal earnings report on Wednesday, when Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, laid out how the company was navigating a tricky transition from social networking toward the so-called virtual world of the metaverse. On Thursday, a company spokesman reiterated statements from its earnings announcement and declined to comment further. Here are six reasons that Meta is in a difficult spot.”


Washington Post: Kids are flocking to Facebook’s ‘metaverse.’ Experts worry predators will follow.. “In theory, kids aren’t allowed in the game. The new virtual-reality app Horizon Worlds, the first foray into the much hyped ‘metaverse’ for Facebook parent company Meta, is limited to adults 18 and older. In practice, however, very young kids appear to be among its earliest adopters. The person I met that day, who told me they were 9 and using their parents’ Oculus VR headset, was one of many apparent children I encountered in several weeks on the app.”

The Guardian: Facebook appeal over Cambridge Analytica data rejected by Australian court as ‘divorced from reality’. “Facebook has lost a major battle with the Australian regulator over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, after a court dismissed the social media giant’s claim that it neither conducts business nor collects personal information in the country. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is suing Facebook, now Meta, for breaching the privacy of more than 300,000 Australian Facebook users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, exposed more than four years ago by the Guardian.”

The Register: Facebook fined peanuts after Giphy staff quit and firm didn’t tell UK competition regulators. “The latest £1.5m ($2.03m) fine was imposed after three key staffers left Giphy. The CMA had imposed a legal order on Facebook owner Meta (2021 profit: $39bn) forcing the US giant to reveal if any ‘staff in positions of executive or managerial responsibility and/or whose performance affects the viability of the business’ resigned.”

CNN: Australian mining magnate takes legal action against Facebook over scam ads. “Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest is taking legal action against Facebook in Australia after he claims the company failed to remove scam advertisements that used his image.”


The Conversation: ‘Virtual influencers’ are here, but should Meta really be setting the ethical ground rules? . “Interest in virtual influencers has rapidly expanded over the past five years, attracting huge audiences on social media and partnerships with major brands, including Audi, Bose, Calvin Klein, Samsung, and Chinese e-commerce platform TMall. A competitive industry specialising in the production, management and promotion of virtual influencers has already sprung up, although it remains largely unregulated…. There is an urgent need for ethical guidelines, both to help producers and their brand partners navigate this new terrain, and more importantly to help users understand the content they’re engaging with.”

Journal of High Technology Law: Escaping to the…‘Metaverse’?: Facebook Looks to Overshadow Their Poor Consumer Protection With A Company Rebrand. “While Facebook may be the first tech giant to launch into the metaverse, it will not be long before others follow suit; therefore, I suggest a more universal solution to the problems that have been revealed in Facebook’s scandals. My proposed solution consists of three prongs: (1) allow users when signing up for social media platforms to select what data is shared; (2) create a comprehensive set of regulations that are specifically designed for the metaverse; and (3) regularly conducted audits by third parties on tech giants.”

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