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Why name change won't erase systemic issues plaguing Facebook

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) The consumers largely remain neutral about Facebook becoming a metaverse company and if it continues to struggle in curbing issues around fake news, extremist content, consumer privacy and teen safety, then the same issues will fast follow Facebook into the metaverse, industry experts said on Friday.

Facebook continues to battle serious allegations led by whistleblower Frances Haugen and others over users’ data privacy and presence of misinformation on its platforms.

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According to global market research firm Forrester, to counter the accusations, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has emphasised the company’s commitment to help bring the metaverse (as the next computing platform) to life, indicating that it would be “a major part of” Facebook’s investment going forward.

“While it’ll help alleviate confusion by distinguishing Facebook’s parent company from its founding app, a name change doesn’t suddenly erase the systemic issues plaguing the company, said Forrester VP and Research Director Mike Proulx.

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“If Meta doesn’t address its issues beyond a defensive and superficial attitude, those same issues will occupy the metaverse,” he said in a statement.

Forrester has found that less than half (41 per cent) of online adults surveyed in the US say they trust Facebook (the company). In the UK, it’s just 26 per cent.

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Nearly 88 per cent agreed that Facebook should first address its core reputation issues before changing its company name.

Facebook and Instagram are also fast losing millennials and Gen Z as users.

The social network now plans to spend at least $10 billion on metaverse-related projects this year and is changing its financial reporting to separate revenue between Facebook Reality Labs and its family of apps.

The metaverse will be a social, 3D virtual space where you can share immersive experiences with other people, even when you can’t be together in person – and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world.

Amid its Meta plans, over half of US online adults (and nearly half of UK online adults) want to see Facebook permanently add “read before sharing” prompts to mitigate the spread of misinformation.

They also want Facebook to remove algorithmic ranking of posts and go back to chronological newsfeeds.

“Nearly half of US online adults and a third of UK online adults want Facebook to replace its executive leadership. Similarly, 43 per cent in the US and 36 per cent in the UK want the government to force Facebook to break up into separate companies for each of its apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, etc.),” the Forerster survey showed.

The metaverse won’t fix Facebook and it must fix itself or be forced to change by several stakeholders responsible for solving the mounting issues surrounding the company: consumers, parents, regulators, and the marketing community, the report mentioned.

–IANS

na/vd

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