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Meta Launches New Creator Funding Programs to Fuel Development of the Metaverse



Meta Launches New Creator Funding Programs to Fuel Development of the Metaverse

Meta’s moving fast into the next stage of digital connection – or at least, it’s setting the stage for metaverse development, with two new creator funding options that are designed to better incentivize user contributions to its digital worlds.

The first is an expansion of its $10 million Horizon Worlds Creator Funding program, which it first launched in October last year.

Horizon Worlds is Meta’s VR sandbox, where creators can build their own immersive experiences. And now, they’ll have another means of monetizing those efforts.

As explained by Meta:

“We’re beginning to test a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program for participants in the US. These bonuses come in the form of goal-oriented monthly programs where the creators are paid out at the end of the month for their progress toward the goal.”

The idea, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to ‘reward the people who are doing awesome work in Horizon’, though the bonuses will be focused on specific elements that Meta’s looking to build on within the VR environment. So if Meta sees that users are engaging with a certain element of its virtual experience, it can make that an incentive goal for others, or it can get creative with ‘the most interactive’ world or ‘the most creative uses of VR’ in any given month to better fuel advanced development.

By using its creator community, Meta stands a better chance of tapping into the key trends and options that will drive the most engagement, because the pool of creators is then exponentially larger than Meta’s own team.

That could help it advance its Horizon Worlds offerings faster, making VR a more engaging and immersive element.

The second element is likely the more interesting aspect – Meta’s also launching a pilot program that will enable some creators to sell virtual items and effects within their VR worlds.

“For example, someone could make and sell attachable accessories for a fashion world or offer paid access to a new part of a world.

Digital items are the next big trend, with NFTs acting as a guiding light of sorts towards that next plain – though much of the NFT hype seems largely misguided, as there is a future in digital items, definitely, but whether those digital items will be avatars of monkey drawings, probably not.

NFT advocates will say that I’m missing the point, but I would argue that the reverse is true – absolutely, the development of VR worlds will see a new wave of digital goods that can be used in virtual environments, which will increasingly become a part of how we connect. That element of the trend is inarguable, but there are currently zero NFT projects that are ‘metaverse ready’, despite claims to the contrary, and I would argue that no one will be overly keen to visit galleries of JPEG collections within this new experience.

People will be looking to spend on items that provide utility, like in-world tools that enhance their experience, or cosmetics, like avatar clothing, that will help them customize their look. Some NFT projects are working towards this, by creating full-scale avatar versions of their characters, but again, I don’t see that becoming a key trend, based on what we’ve seen thus far in other, similar experiences.

For example, Fortnite is one template for the metaverse expansion, with players able to represent themselves via custom avatars and weapons that are aligned to their personal preferences. In fact, that’s already the key revenue element for the game, with Fortnite generating billions in sales via its in-game store, where people can purchase various enhancements.

And on Fortnite, despite a vast array of choices, the most popular skins likely point to where this trend is headed. Spiderman, Deadpool, John Wick. With players able to choose from almost any form of character, the most popular skins are, in the end, the ones that look the coolest, not the most unique, which suggests that most people are likely going to gravitate in that direction, while also looking to customize their own Facebook avatars to make characters that look more like themselves.

Basically, I don’t think that people are going to want to look like full-sized Pixel Punks or Bored Apes, which will limit the utility of the current popular NFT characters, even with their additional community benefits and other offerings considered.

But either way, digital items are clearly going to be a thing, and Meta’s new push will provide an immediate way for VR creators to offer enhanced experiences for in-world fees.

It’s a smart move from Meta, building with collaboration in mind from the beginning, which, again, will greatly expand its creative potential, and enable new trends to organically evolve, helping to generate interest, and bring in new users.

Couple this with Meta’s evolving efforts to provide 3D scanning options for eCommerce brands, and you can see how its metaverse will soon be populated with a massive array of digital products, which could be made customizable (for a fee) along with different abilities, utilities, etc.

It’ll still take some time, but adoption of VR is rising, while more than 10,000 environments have already been created in Horizon Worlds to date.

As those experiences advance, that’ll drive more adoption, and while we may not all be spending the majority of our days in the metaverse by the end of 2022, you can see how it’s evolving, and will become a bigger consideration over time.

Meta says that purchasing items in Horizon Worlds will be available to adult users in the US and Canada to begin with.

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Planning for 2023: What Social Media Marketers Need to Win in 2023



Planning for 2023: What Social Media Marketers Need to Win in 2023

January is, for many, a month of reflection, goal-setting, strategizing and planning for the year ahead. 

In line with this, we’ve kicked off the new year with a series of articles covering the latest stats, tips and strategies to help social media marketers build an effective game plan for 2023.

Below, you’ll find links to our 2023 social media planning series, which includes:

  • Content strategy guidelines to help you define your brand’s content mission and set SMART goals
  • Organic posting tips for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest 
  • Explainers on how to research key topics of interest in your niche, understand the competitive landscape, and help you find your audience and connect with them where they’re active
  • A holiday calendar and notes on the best days and times to post to each of the major platforms


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Meta says Trump to be allowed back on Facebook, Instagram



Meta wants the UK to keep some EU e-commerce rules instead of scrapping them in its planned bonfire of Brussels legislation



Social networking giant Meta announced Tuesday it would soon reinstate former president Donald Trump’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram with “new guardrails,” two years after he was banned over the 2021 US Capitol insurrection.

“We will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said in a statement, adding that the move would come with “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

Going forward, the Republican leader — who has already declared himself a 2024 presidential candidate — could be suspended for up to two years for each violation of platform policies, Clegg said.

It was not clear when or if Trump will return to the platforms, and his representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the 76-year-old tycoon reacted in typically bullish fashion, crowing that Facebook had lost “billions of dollars in value” in his absence.

“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he said on his Truth Social platform.

Facebook banned Trump a day after the January 6, 2021 uprising, when a mob of his supporters seeking to halt the certification of his election defeat to Joe Biden stormed the US Capitol in Washington.

The former reality TV star had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him and he was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot.

In a letter asking for the ban to be overturned, Trump’s lawyer Scott Gast said last week that Meta had “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.”

He asked for a meeting to discuss Trump’s “prompt reinstatement to the platform” of Facebook, where he had 34 million followers, arguing that his status as the leading contender for the Republican nomination in 2024 justified ending the ban.

American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero said Meta was making “the right call” by allowing Trump back onto the social network.

“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” Romero said in a release.

“Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration.”

The ACLU has filed more than 400 legal actions against Trump, according to Romero.

– Extremism engine? –

Advocacy groups such as Media Matters for America, however, vehemently oppose allowing Trump to exploit Facebook’s social networking reach.

“Make no mistake — by allowing Donald Trump back on its platforms, Meta is refueling Trump’s misinformation and extremism engine,” said Media Matters president Angelo Carusone.

“This not only will have an impact on Instagram and Facebook users, but it also presents intensified threats to civil society and an existential threat to United States democracy as a whole.”

A US congressional committee recommended in December that Trump be prosecuted for his role in the US Capitol assault.

His Twitter account, which has 88 million followers, was also blocked after the riot, leaving him to communicate through Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers.

Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was credited in part to his leverage of social media and his enormous digital reach.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account last November, days after the brash billionaire announced a fresh White House run. He has yet to post.

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Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock



Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock

Last year was brutal for Meta Platforms (META 3.01%). The Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger parent’s ad revenue suffered as a weak macroeconomic environment and changes to ad tracking and measurement on Apple‘s mobile operating system combined to create a significant headwind.

This headwind wreaked havoc on the stock, with shares of the tech company declining 65% last year. But The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that there may be some signs of improvement in Meta’s business — something that could prove to be a catalyst for the stock.

Here’s a look at why 2023 could be a decent year for Meta’s business and possibly its stock, too.

Meta’s nightmare 2022

It’s not surprising that Meta’s stock took a beating last year. The bad news started early in 2022, when Meta reported its fourth-quarter 2021 results and said first-quarter revenue growth would slow dramatically due to Apple’s iOS changes, a weak macroeconomic environment, and a shift of user engagement within the company’s apps to its TikTok-like Reels format, which was monetizing at a lower rate than its more mature formats. 

These trends largely persisted throughout 2022, as revenue growth decelerated dramatically in Q1 and turned negative by Q2. Revenue growth continued to decline on a year-over-year basis in Q3, and management said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to decline between 3% and 11% year over year. The midpoint of this range would be worse than the company’s 4% revenue decline in Q3.

A turnaround may be underway

While Meta’s performance was dismal last year, management emphasized on several occasions that it was confident it could turn things around eventually. In particular, the social media company believed it would be able to build out solutions to make its ad tracking and measurement less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system’s capabilities. Further, Meta said throughout the year that even though its Reels format may be a headwind today, it would become a tailwind as the company improved its monetization.

Based on a report from WSJ on Friday, Meta has been making progress on these fronts. Investment in artificial intelligence tools to improve ad-targeting and forecasting and a shift to ad products that are less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system are paying off, WSJ reports. “Executives told employees in October that Meta expected to begin rebounding from Apple’s change as soon as that quarter, which ended Dec. 31,” wrote WSJ‘s Jeff Horwitz and Salvador Rodriguez, citing “internal documents” at Meta.

Of course, it’s still impossible to know what Meta’s fourth-quarter results may look like. We’ll find out when the company reports fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1. It’s worth noting that Meta’s third-quarter report was released toward the end of October — the same month WSJ said executives reported these improvements to employees, and almost a month into Q4. Management, therefore, likely attempted to conservatively bake in any improvements it was seeing into its fourth-quarter revenue guidance.

While it’s possible Meta surprises to the upside for its fourth-quarter 2022 results, the internal documents WSJ cites at least provide an encouraging backdrop for a potential turnaround in the company’s top-line trajectory in 2023.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple and Meta Platforms. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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