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Facebook Plans to Hire 10,000 New Staff to Work on the Metaverse

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Facebook is taking its next steps towards becoming a ‘metaverse company’ with a new plan to hire 10,000 new staff to work on its metaverse project. Also important, these new staff will all be based in Europe.

As explained by Facebook:

“Today, we’re announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years. This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent.

The new hiring push will see Facebook significantly expand its operations in the EU, as it works to build its metaverse elements. Which are not entirely clear as yet, but Facebook sees the evolving metaverse concept as a key opportunity for it to connect its social, AR and VR tools on another level, and move with the next key stage of digital connection.

The metaverse, in a basic sense, is a virtual world, or worlds, where users will be able to interact with each other using digital depictions of themselves, or character avatars. The idea is that the metaverse will replicate real life in many ways, within a fluid, interactive digital space, where people will be able to socialize, play games, shop, work, etc. Basically, any interaction that you can conduct in real life you’ll theoretically be able to conduct in the metaverse as well, with the additional capacity to use digital elements to expand your communication in the space.

Which many businesses have been building towards for years, but the evolution of VR, and the expanded WFH shift, sparked by the pandemic, have now made it a much more realistic concept, and something that more people can and will be looking to utilize in the near future.

How exactly the metaverse, in itself, takes shape is not clear, but as noted, given Facebook’s investment in several key elements of the concept, it’s no surprise to see The Social Network looking to become a foundational element of the broader metaverse infrastructure.

Though as Facebook notes:

“No one company will own and operate the metaverse. Like the internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability. Bringing this to life will take collaboration and cooperation across companies, developers, creators and policymakers.”

That feels a little like a ‘yeah, but’ type statement, like Facebook is saying that no one company can own the metaverse, but it kind of still thinks it probably can, at least to a significant degree.

The decision to base these new staff in Europe, specifically, is of particular note given the company’s various ongoing challenges in the region.

Facebook is constantly working with European regulators, on various fronts, to ensure that it meets the region’s evolving standards on data privacy, consumer protection, antitrust and more. Earlier this year, various European-based groups launched the first stages of legal action against Facebook for past data leaks, which they’re now able to initiate as part of Europe’s GDPR rules, while Facebook’s also facing several antitrust probes in the region, as well as investigations into how it uses data to target ads, and how it protects (or doesn’t) younger users.

Given the scope of regulatory and legal challenges that Facebook’s facing, it makes sense for the company to increase its contribution to the EU economy, as a means to gain more leverage, and potential leniency, in such considerations.

That, of course, is the skeptical view – for its part, Facebook says that:

European companies are at the cutting edge of several fields, whether it’s the German biotech helping to develop the first-ever MRNA vaccine or the coalition of European neo-banks leading the future of finance. Spain is seeing record levels of investment into startups solving everything from online grocery delivery to neuroelectronics, while Sweden is on its way to becoming the world’s first cashless society by 2023.

Theoretically, both can be true, but it is interesting to see Facebook announce this type of investment into a specific region for a specialized tech project.

Either way, Facebook’s metaverse plans are moving forward, and while we won’t know for some time what specific form this element will take, it should help to secure Facebook’s future in the next stage.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

The company posted a net loss of $288.5 million, or 18 cents a share, including $34 million in charges from its workforce restructuring. That compared to a profit of $23 million, or one cent, a year earlier.

Snap ended the fourth quarter with 375 million daily users, a 17% increase. In the first three months of the year, the company estimates 382 million to 384 million people will use its platform daily.

Snap has become a bellwether for other digital advertising companies. Last year, it was the first to raise concerns about the slowdown in marketer spending online and to fire a significant number of employees—20% of its workforce—to cut costs in the face of falling revenue.

The company has spent the last two quarters refocusing the organization, cutting projects that don’t contribute to user and revenue growth.

In the first quarter, Snap expects the environment to “remain challenging as we expect the headwinds we have faced over the past year to persist.”

Investors will get additional information about the state of the digital ad market when Meta and Alphabet report earnings later this week.

—Bloomberg News

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

After reinstating thousands of previously suspended accounts, as part of new chief Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ initiative, Twitter has now outlined how it will be enforcing its rules from now on, which includes less restrictive measures for some violations.

As explained by Twitter:

“We have been proactively reinstating previously suspended accounts […] We did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated. Going forward, we will take less severe actions, such as limiting the reach of policy-violating Tweets or asking you to remove Tweets before you can continue using your account.”

This is in line with Musk’s previously stated ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ approach, which will see Twitter leaning more towards leaving content active in the app, but reducing its impact algorithmically, if it breaks any rules.

Which means a lot of tweets that would have previously been deemed violative will now remain in the app, and while Musk notes that no ads will be displayed against such content, that could be difficult to enforce, given the way the tweet timeline functions.

But it does align with Musk’s free speech approach, and reduces the onus on Twitter, to some degree, in moderating speech. It will still need to assess each instance, case-by-case, but users themselves will be less aware of penalties – though Musk has also flagged adding more notifications and explainers to outline any reach penalties as well.

“Account suspension will be reserved for severe or ongoing, repeat violations of our policies. Severe violations include but are not limited to: engaging in illegal content or activity, inciting or threatening violence or harm, privacy violations, platform manipulation or spam, and engaging in targeted harassment of our users.

Which still means that a lot of content that these users had been suspended for previously would still result in suspension now, and it leaves a lot up to Twitter management in allocating severity of impact in certain actions.

How do you definitively measure threats of violence or harm, for example? Former President Donald Trump was sanctioned under this policy, but many, including Musk, were critical of Twitter’s decision to do so, given that Trump is an elected representative.

In other nations, too, Twitter has been pressured to remove tweets under these policies, and it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter 2.0 handles such, given its stated more lax approach to moderation, despite its rules remaining largely the same.

Already, questions have been raised on this front – Twitter recently removed links to a BBC documentary that’s critical of the Indian Government, at the request of India’s PM. Twitter hasn’t offered any official explanation for the action, but with Musk also working with the Indian Government to secure partnerships for his other business, Tesla, questions have been raised as to how he will manage both impacts concurrently.

In essence, Twitter’s approach has changed when it chooses to do so, but the rules, as such, will effectively be governed by Musk himself. And as we’ve already seen, he will make drastic rules changes based on personal agendas and experience.

Twitter says that, starting February 1st, any previously suspended users will be able to appeal their suspension, and be evaluated under its new criteria for reinstatement.

It’s also targeting February for a launch of its new account penalties notifications.



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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