How Meta became its personal enemy in 2022
This year’s macroeconomic challenges have affected every tech company. However, Meta always manages to make the worst situation worse, according to Cecily Mauran, tech reporter for Mashable.
Although TikTok poses a severe threat to Meta’s existence, Meta is perhaps more at risk from its own mistakes. Following are a few instances as per the reporter in which Meta was its own worst enemy.
Meta made stock market history in February 2022, but not in a favorable way. The largest one-day valuation loss in American history occurred when Meta dropped €231.74 billion over the course of one night. This happened after Meta’s Q1 earnings were less than expected, which were blamed on the macroeconomic slowdown, strong competition from TikTok, and Apple iOS privacy rules that hindered Meta’s targeted advertising business.
Letting Sheryl Sandberg go
In June 2022, after 14 years, Sheryl Sandberg quietly left the company she helped turn into what it is today.
There was the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, the widespread problem of misinformation, and the whistleblower allegations made by France Haugen. Sandberg discussed the difficulties of the social media landscape and the function of Meta in her goodbye post: “The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe.”
Sandberg had been good for Meta. She made Meta profitable through its ad business as COO, making herself a top female CEO in a male-dominated field, while also acting as Zuckerberg’s voice of reason.
In August 2022, when Meta released Horizon Worlds, the internet was not on its side. Zuckerberg renamed Facebook to Meta earlier this year because he is so passionate about the metaverse.
When it comes to Horizon Worlds, many have compared it to “The Sims but worse” and “Animal Crossing but with Mark Zuckerberg stalking you.” To make matters worse, not even Keke Palmer’s charisma could persuade users to use the platform. As of October, Horizon Worlds claimed less than 200,000 users, which was well below its launch objective.
At Meta Connect, Zuckerberg seems to have given attention to the pleading of the roughly 12 users of Horizon Worlds by giving the avatars legs.
But it proved that this was a scam. Ian Hamilton, the editor of UploadVR, revealed a few days after the release that the legs demonstration was created using motion capture technology, also known as computer graphics.
The situation was made worse when Zuckerberg said during the launch that the lack of legs on avatars was due to a lack of technology: “Legs are hard, which is why other virtual reality systems don’t have them too.” However, the virtual reality game VRChat has had full body tracking and legs for years.
A racist chatbot
Meta released “BlenderBot 3,” an AI chatbot, to the internet public in August 2022. According to the announcement, BlenderBot 3 was designed to “learn from a broad, wide-ranging perspective with individuals ‘in the wild'”. The January 6 “truther,” BlenderBot 3, however, turned out to be an anti-Semite who even managed to poke fun at Mark Zuckerberg.
According to Bloomberg, BlenderBot 3 propagated anti-semitic conspiracies within a few days of its debut, asserted Donald Trump won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and referred to Mark Zuckerberg as “extremely weird and manipulative.”