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Meta’s Crytpo Project Loses Top Executive, the Latest Blow for the Company’s Digital Payments Push

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Meta’s troubled cryptocurrency project has been dealt yet another blow, with top executive David Marcus, formerly of PayPal, announcing that he will be leaving the company at the end of the year.

As reported by Bloomberg, Marcus is leaving Meta to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, and explore other passions outside the organization:

As per Marcus:

While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi – and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems – my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.

Marcus will be succeeded by former UpWork CEO Stephane Kasriel as the head of the Novi project, which, as noted, is still far from gaining significant traction as a payment option, despite being launched with much fanfare almost two and a half years ago.

Initially announced as ’Libra’, Meta had hoped that it could introduce a native digital payment system within Facebook which would eventually power eCommerce, and broader transactions, to help make it a more critical utility for more users around the world.

The big focus in this sense seemed to be India, where Meta has been working to build its presence, and tap into the emerging digital eco-system of the world’s second-most populous nation. Now Facebook’s biggest user market, further establishing its presence within the Indian tech shift could make Meta a critical provider, facilitating a wide range of functionalities in the region, including, importantly, remittance transfers, with India seeing more remittance transactions than any other nation.

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Those transactions cost money, with financial providers charging for each transfer, and Meta saw this as a way to maximize take-up of its free crypto-based transactions, which would then see Indian users moving more money through its systems, which would in turn make it easier to encourage them to undertake more payments and purchases in its apps. If you already trust Meta with remittance, it becomes less of a leap to evolve into more transaction types, which was the key promise of the Novi project, and the biggest impetus behind the company’s push.

But then, shortly after the Libra project was announced, Indian officials ruled out any hope of a Facebook currency operating within its borders. That was a first key blow for the project, which then lost the support of various payment providers and officials, and seemed destined for failure, due to both resistance to digital payments, and to Meta more broadly.

Meta has since tried to re-shape the project several times, which included renaming it to ‘Novi’ in May last year, while just last month, finally, Meta moved to a live pilot test of its Novi digital wallet in the US and Guatemala, enabling users to send and receive money between the two regions.

Novi wallet example

That’s the latest big leap that Marcus refers to in his announcement. And while it is seemingly positive to see the project move to this next stage, broader concerns around cryptocurrency, and its security, especially within Meta’s tools, look set to remain an impediment for some time yet.

Indeed, various nations have moved to ban the use of cryptocurrency entirely, including China and India, while Swedish officials have called on the EU to ban crypto projects due to climate impacts around crypto mining. Research also suggests that UK citizens would also support a ban on cryptocurrencies, and while momentum grows for crypto-aligned projects like NFTs online, there is seemingly an underlying concern of a coming market crash, which will cut a hole in the current crypto bubble and erase the perceived value of these rising digital products.

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In many ways, the nature of crypto communities, built largely on goodwill, has established a more inviting, and attractive avenue for crypto investment, but at a larger scale, there still seems to be significant risk in these payment systems, with limited opportunities for recourse with respect to scams and theft. As such, the view that crypto projects will benefit some of the most vulnerable communities may also be flawed, as it could equally open those same people up to broader exploitation, and while global banking systems do need to evolve, the promise of financial sovereignty remains fraught, even in a best-case application.

And this is before you consider the wider backlash against Meta, and its anti-competitive practices which it’s used to dominate the social media and digital ads markets. Few governments want to see Zuck and Co gain even more power, and as such, resistance to its digital payments project looks set to remain firm for some time yet, which could still kill off the Novi project.

Losing Marcus, and his considerable expertise and industry heft, is a significant blow in this respect, and while Meta will push on, it’ll be interesting to see if and how Novi develops throughout 2022.   

Socialmediatoday.com

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams


After previewing it as a coming feature within its announcement of the expansion of remixable videos on the platform last week, Instagram has now outlined its new display of scheduled live streams on creator profiles, providing another way to raise awareness of upcoming live broadcasts in the app.

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, the new display option will enable you to list your upcoming IG live streams on your profile, which, when tapped, will provide additional info in a pop-up prompt, where people can also sign-up for a reminder of when the stream is set to begin.

As explained by Mosseri:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a live from creating a feed post, or even now a Story post, about that Live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Mosseri further notes that users can create as many scheduled lives as they like, with a side-scrolling list then added to your profile display.

It could be a handy addition for those who broadcast via IG Live, which could prompt more people to tune in, by raising more awareness about your broadcasts. Up till now, the only way to notify people about your upcoming streams in the app has been, as Mosseri notes, through posts and Stories, which limits the reach of those notifications to, generally, your existing followers. Now, anyone who comes by your profile will be able to see that you have a live broadcast coming up, which could bring in more viewers.

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IG Live has become a key connection surface in the app, particularly throughout the pandemic, and as Instagram looks to expand the option into eCommerce, facilitating more direct engagement between brands and fans, the capacity to map out a more effective IG Live strategy could be a big help in maximizing your on-platform efforts.

It may seem like a relatively small addition in the broader scheme, but it could be a big help in raising awareness, and getting more viewers to your upcoming broadcasts.





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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding

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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding


LinkedIn has published a new report into the latest shifts in company and work culture, largely as a result of the pandemic, with many people’s approach to their career and professional development changing amid the ongoing re-shaping of the workforce and place.

As outlined by LinkedIn:

Because of the pandemic, employees are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. They’re seeking flexible work arrangements and more work-life balance. They want to work for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being. And they’re ready to walk away from those who don’t.

LinkedIn’s 67-page ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report provides a detailed analysis of these changing attitudes and approaches, and how businesses can look to cater to employee needs, in order to build a better work environment.

The report looks at how people’s approach to their work is changing, particularly in regards to who they work for, and what they both represent and provide.

As you can see in this graphic, company culture is becoming a much bigger consideration, which is arguably because we now have more insight than ever into what each company represents, via social media posts and profiles. That underlines the importance of brands managing their external perception, and building a strong employer brand, which could also include empowering their employees to share relevant updates, reinforcing culture and ethos.

The report also looks at the changing approach to workplace flexibility, which is fast becoming a must-have for many organizations.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

The pandemic has shown that many companies can, in fact, operate remotely, and many employees have found that the freedom that can bring affords them many lifestyle benefits, which they’re not so willing to give up by returning to the office full-time.

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Of course, that varies. Some people like the structure and organization of the office environment, along with the social benefits, and there are strong arguments to be made for both approaches. But the stats here, and included in the report, point to the potential value of incorporating more flexible working arrangements.

Employee well-being is another point of focus, with interest in the topic on the rise:

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Which is another valuable element to this report – in addition to the overall notes on workplace shifts, LinkedIn has also incorporated data on key platform posting trends, which could help to inform your own strategy.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Clearly, there is significant, and rising interest in these elements, and it’s worth considering how you can integrate such, both in terms of how you evolve your own workplace models to cater to such demand, and how you represent the same in your external posts and updates.

There are some valuable notes here, and some interesting points to consider in the coming post-pandemic shift. Because we’re not there just yet, with newer COVID variants still parking new waves of concern, and subsequent mitigation efforts. But as we progress towards the next stage, it is worth noting the broader impacts that the COVID shift has had on work, and how prospective employees are now looking at job postings and companies in their job search efforts.

Your social media presence can play a big role in this, and your LinkedIn presence in particular, and it’s worth taking in the various trends and considering what they could mean for your brand.

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You can read LinkedIn’s full ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report here.



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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month

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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month


Throughout the pandemic, Black-owned businesses in the US have been significantly impacted, with closure and revenue rates far worse than non-minority organizations in most regions.

According to Meta’s ‘State of Small Business Report’, more than half of minority-led businesses have reported a drop in sales within the period, which is 6 percentage points higher than other SMBs, while almost two-thirds of Black-led businesses, specifically, have reported a drop in sales of more than 50%.

With these sobering stats in mind, Meta has been working to provide more support for Black-owned brands, in order to lift their performance, where possible, and eliminate ongoing social inequality as a result of this shift.

Meta’s latest effort on this front is a new series of events to provide insights for Black-owned businesses, while it’s also announced the participants in a new training and support program for impacted SMBs.

As explained by Meta:

“Throughout Black History Month, Meta Elevate will be kicking off weekly events with industry experts, small business owners and influencers to inspire and educate Black-owned small businesses with a new theme “Black365.” These events, which will start during Black History Month, will continue beyond February to support this community and provide new ways to help their businesses thrive.”

As noted, the events are the latest in Meta’s efforts to provide more support and training for Black-owned SMBs, with both Facebook and Instagram running a range of initiatives over the last year to highlight and support these brands.

In addition to this, Meta has also announced a group of 10 Black-owned businesses that have been chosen to take part in a new training program, as nominated by singer and philanthropist Ciara.

These business owners will take part in a 6-week marketing mentorship, facilitated by Meta Elevate, while Meta will also provide $100,000 in ad credits and creative support so that each business can put their learnings into action following the mentorship.

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This is a key area of focus for Meta, in allocating business support where it’s needed most, and lessening the compounding impacts of social inequality. Meta, through Facebook and Instagram, has made a strong commitment to providing more support for minority-owned businesses, and this latest initiative is another step in working to address rising concerns, and empower all business owners to maximize their opportunities equally.

Meta’s ‘Black365’ events will be held throughout February.



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