Facebook rebrands as Meta to emphasize ‘metaverse’ vision

Facebook rebrands as Meta to emphasize ‘metaverse’ vision
Zuckerberg said the name “Facebook” just doesn’t encompass “everything we do” any more. (AFP)
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Updated 29 October 2021

Facebook rebrands as Meta to emphasize ‘metaverse’ vision

Facebook rebrands as Meta to emphasize ‘metaverse’ vision
  • Skeptics point out that it also appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers

OAKLAND, California: Like many companies in trouble before it, Facebook is changing its name and logo.
Facebook Inc. is now called Meta Platforms Inc., or Meta for short, to reflect what CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday is its commitment to developing the new surround-yourself technology known as the ” metaverse.” But the social network itself will still be called Facebook.
Also unchanged, at least for now, are its chief executive and senior leadership, its corporate structure and the crisis that has enveloped the company.

Skeptics immediately accused the company of trying to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, the trove of leaked documents that have plunged it into the biggest crisis since it was founded in Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room 17 years ago. The documents portray Facebook as putting profits ahead of ridding its platform of hate, political strife and misinformation around the world.
The move reminded marketing consultant Laura Ries of when energy company BP rebranded itself to “Beyond Petroleum” to escape criticism that the oil giant harmed the environment.
“Facebook is the world’s social media platform, and they are being accused of creating something that is harmful to people and society,” she said. “They can’t walk away from the social network with a new corporate name and talk of a future metaverse.”
Facebook the app is not changing its name. Nor are Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company’s corporate structure also won’t change. But on Dec. 1, its stock will start trading under a new ticker symbol, MVRS.
The metaverse is sort of the Internet brought to life, or at least rendered in 3D. Zuckerberg has described it as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of, instead of just looking at on a screen. People can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.

“Today we are seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

It also will incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies.
Zuckerberg’s foray into virtual reality has drawn some comparisons to fellow tech billionaires’ outer space adventures and jokes that perhaps it’s understandable he would want to escape his current reality amid calls for his resignation and increasing scrutiny of the company.
On Monday, Zuckerberg announced a new segment for Facebook that will begin reporting its financial results separately from the company’s Family of Apps segment starting in the final quarter of this year. The entity, Reality Labs, will reduce Facebook’s overall operating profit by about $10 billion this year, the company said.

Other tech companies such as Microsoft, chipmaker Nvidia and Fortnite maker Epic Games have all been outlining their own visions of how the metaverse will work.
Zuckerberg said that he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade and that he hopes the new technology will creates millions of jobs for creators.
The announcement comes amid heightened legislative and regulatory scrutiny of Facebook in many parts of the world because of the Facebook Papers. A corporate rebranding isn’t likely to solve the myriad problems revealed by the internal documents or quiet the alarms that critics have been raising for years about the harm the company’s products are causing to society.
Zuckerberg, for his part, has largely dismissed the furor triggered by the Facebook Papers as unfair.

“Changing their name doesn’t change reality: Facebook is destroying our democracy and is the world’s leading peddler of disinformation and hate.” 

Real Facebook Oversight Board

In an interesting twist, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization run by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, bought a Canadian scientific literature analysis company called Meta in 2017.
By Thursday afternoon, though, its website Meta.org announced that it will “sunset” at the end of March. The Meta.com domain, meanwhile, redirected to the former Facebook’s rebranded corporate site.
At headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the iconic thumbs up sign that has long been outside was repainted to a blue, pretzel-shape logo resembling an infinity symbol.
Some of Facebook’s biggest critics seemed unimpressed by the name change. The Real Facebook Oversight Board, a watchdog group focused on the company, announced that it will keep its name.
“Changing their name doesn’t change reality: Facebook is destroying our democracy and is the world’s leading peddler of disinformation and hate,” the group said in a statement. “Their meaningless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real, independent oversight needed to hold Facebook accountable.”
In explaining the rebrand, Zuckerberg said the name Facebook no longer encompasses everything the company does. In addition to the social network, that now includes Instagram, Messenger, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more.
“Today we are seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”


 

Decoder

What is metaverse?

Metaverse is sort of the Internet brought to life, or rendered in 3D. In announcing its new name Meta, Facebook says it is helping to build the metaverse, "a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D."


CNN’s Chris Cuomo suspended over role in ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sex scandal

 In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)
In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)
Updated 01 December 2021

CNN’s Chris Cuomo suspended over role in ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sex scandal

 In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)

LOS ANGELES: CNN on Tuesday suspended its top news anchor, Chris Cuomo, for his role in defending his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations.
The cable news channel said in a statement the suspension followed the release of new court documents on Monday.
“These documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” CNN said.
Andrew Cuomo was forced to step down https://www.reuters.com/world/us/new-york-governor-cuomo-resigns-after-sexual-harassment-findings-2021-08-10 as governor in August after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Chris Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his suspension.
Cuomo, who hosts CNN’s most-watched prime time news show, had admitted in May he breached some of the network’s rules in advising his brother how to handle the allegations from a public relations perspective. He also pledged not to report on the case on air.
CNN said on Tuesday that at the time it “appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second,” but said the new documents “raise serious questions.”
The documents released by New York Attorney General Letitia James showed text and other messages in which Cuomo sought to use his own sources in the media to find out information on the case and the women involved in it.
A criminal complaint https://www.reuters.com/world/us/misdemeanor-complaint-related-sex-crime-filed-against-ex-ny-governor-cuomo-court-2021-10-28 charging Andrew Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex offense was filed on Oct. 29 in a New York court.


Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
Updated 01 December 2021

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
  • Marketing intelligence firm WARC’s annual rankings are compilation of most important industry awards

DUBAI: International marketing intelligence company WARC has released its creative, effective, and media 100 suite of global rankings for marketing communications featuring the most awarded campaigns, agencies, and brands in the world for 2020.

The annual league tables compiled by the firm are produced by combining the winners’ lists from the industry’s most important global and regional awards shows.

The events chosen are determined by WARC’s rankings advisory board and a worldwide industry survey as well as by applying a proprietary three-step methodology.

Amy Rodgers, managing editor for research and rankings at WARC, said: “The results of the WARC Rankings 2021 bring together the most awarded campaigns and companies of 2020 and are a fantastic showcase of a combination of the best work the industry produced pre-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as exceptional work notable for its response to the volatility caused by COVID-19.”

Due to the global health crisis many award shows were paused last year, resuming in 2021 to judge work from both years, resulting in the WARC Rankings 2021 being postponed from the first quarter (Q1) of the year until now. The WARC Rankings 2022 (work tracked during 2021) will be released in Q1 next year.

The most highly ranked campaigns and companies of the WARC Rankings 2021 are as follows.

In the Creative 100 rankings, the top brands were Burger King, holding its No. 1 position, IKEA, and Diesel, and the leading agencies were DAVID Miami (part of Ogilvy), which climbed up from No. 23, Impact BBDO Dubai, and Publicis Milan.

Liz Taylor, Ogilvy’s global chief creative officer, said: “Topping the WARC Creative 100 speaks to the borderless creativity that unites Ogilvy’s global creative network, and what’s possible when creative thinking stretches across departments, geographies, and cultures to become a shared mission.”

In the Media 100 Rankings, the top brands were McDonald’s, Nike, and new entrant Always, with Mindshare Shanghai, MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv, and Mindshare Ho Chi Minh City heading up the agencies.

Mark Read, chief executive officer of WPP, said: “If our role is to make the best work, connect brands seamlessly with audiences, and produce outstanding results for our clients, then there’s no better endorsement than to top the WARC 100 rankings for creative, media, and effectiveness.”

In the Effective 100 rankings, the headline brands were McDonald’s, KFC, and Coca-Cola. The top agencies were categorized into creative, media, and digital/specialist.

Among the top creative agencies were FP7 McCann Dubai, and new entrants Colenso BBDO Auckland, and BMF Sydney; the leading media agencies were new entrant Carat London, Mindshare Istanbul, and Carat Auckland; and the top digital/specialist agencies were Ingage Istanbul and newcomers AFFINITY Sydney, and Tribal Worldwide Bogota.

Suzanne Powers, global president and chief strategy officer at McCann Worldgroup, said: “The WARC honor as the No. 1 most effective network for 2021, is a testament to our teams’ unwavering dedication to using the power of creativity to drive impact for our clients’ brands across all of our regions.”

The full rankings can be found here.


Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor
Updated 01 December 2021

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor
  • Emma Tucker said she would seek to hire more diverse voices
  • Muslim Council of Britain report finds widespread media bias

LONDON: The editor of the UK’s Sunday Times has admitted that newspapers need to do more to improve their coverage of Islam and Muslim-related issues.

Emma Tucker made the comments ahead of a report from the Muslim Council of Britain which concludes that UK media coverage of Islam is highly critical.

Tucker said she welcomed the MCB report “in the full knowledge that it contains criticisms of the press, my own paper included.”

She told The Guardian: “Some of those criticisms are valid. Some I would respectfully disagree with. All, though, are useful. To move forward in serving that broad readership, we want to hear views from every part of it.”

Tucker said her paper needed to hire more diverse staff to ensure it improved its coverage of Islam, but made clear that “sometimes we will just see the issues differently.”

She was not in charge of the paper when the MCB survey was conducted, but avoided criticizing her predecessor.

“By its nature, a report like this must focus on the past. My job is to focus on the future. I want our news coverage to be fair but fearless, and our commentators to be robust but responsible,” she said.

The MCB report, convened by the council’s Centre for Media Monitoring, analyzed 48,000 articles published between late 2018 and 2019.

It found that 59 percent of articles associated Muslims or Islam with negative behavior or qualities.

Right-wing outlets were generally more critical of Islam than left-leaning publications, with The Spectator faring the worst by being classed as “antagonistic,” with 37 percent of pieces categorized as such.

Behind the report’s investigation was Miqdaad Versi, who has spent years urging British media to change the language it uses when reporting on Muslims, often by using the UK’s press regulator to push for story corrections.

The report’s authors said they did not want uncritical coverage of Muslims, but sought to improve the quality of reporting in the British media.

They told The Guardian: “Even stories which report on a Muslim having achieved something noteworthy are framed by their supposed embrace of Western liberal values whilst breaking free of the shackles of their own faith or tradition.”


OSN marks UAE’s 50th National Day by revealing top-watched content

OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2021

OSN marks UAE’s 50th National Day by revealing top-watched content

OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
  • List includes Arabic, Turkish and award-winning Western movies and shows

DUBAI: In celebration of the UAE's 50th National Day on Dec. 2, OSN is revealing the top-watched content within the UAE on its streaming platform. 

It includes award-winning international movies and TV shows, as well as regional shows in Arabic and Turkish.

One of the shows on the list is the Emmy award-winning “Succession,” a dark comedy that revolves around the themes of power, politics, and family.

The list also includes Golden Globe winner “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is currently in its 18th season, and the modern-day series, “New Amsterdam”.

“Yellowstone,” written by US screenwriter, actor, and director Taylor Sheridan, and the spy-adventure movie “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” by Patrick Hughes, starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek, is also among OSN’s most-viewed content.

When it comes to regional content, the Turkish drama series “Al Tuffah Al Haram,” with its fourth and newest season, and the Arabic comedy-drama “Mesh Ana,” starring Tamer Hosny, are also featured on the list.

Some of the most popular shows and movies on the list, such as “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” “Yellowstone,” and “Al Tuffah Al Haram,” were launched on OSN Streaming as part of its “Always Fresh” campaign, which promised to drop new content on the platform every day through November and December.


Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed, fines Google

 Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 November 2021

Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed, fines Google

 Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
  • Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted
  • Russia also fined Google 3 million roubles on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal

MOSCOW: Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator Roskomnadzor told Reuters, as Moscow continues to make demands of Big Tech.
Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations, while also seeking to force foreign companies to have official representation in Russia and store Russians’ personal data on its territory.
Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, Roskomnadzor has said.
Twitter, which did not immediately comment on Monday, denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behavior. It says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm.
Videos and photos are noticeably slower to load on mobile devices, but Roskomnadzor eased speed restrictions on fixed networks in May.
Roskomnadzor said Twitter, which it has fined a total of 38.4 million roubles this year, has systematically ignored requests to remove banned material since 2014, but has taken down more than 90 percent of illegal posts.
“As of now, 761 undeleted posts remain,” Roskomnadzor said in response to Reuters questions. “The condition for lifting the access restriction on mobile devices is that Twitter completely removes banned materials detected by Roskomnadzor.”
The regulator has said it will seek fines on the annual turnover of Alphabet’s Google and Facebook in Russia for repeated legal violations, threats the two companies did not comment on at the time.
“We also reiterate that the social network Twitter has been repeatedly found guilty by a Russian court of committing administrative offenses,” Roskomnadzor said.

Russia has also fined Alphabet Inc.'s Google 3 million roubles on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal, part of a wider dispute between Russia and the US tech giant.
Russia in October threatened to fine Google a percentage of its annual Russian turnover for repeatedly failing to delete banned content on its search engine and YouTube, in Moscow's strongest move yet to rein in foreign tech firms.
Google, which last month said it had paid more than 32 million roubles in fines, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.