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Facebook announces name change to Meta in rebranding effort

Meta

Facebook announces name change to Meta in rebranding effort

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant will change the name of its holding company to Meta, in a rebrand that comes as the company faces a series of public relations crises.

Zuckerberg revealed the new name at Facebook’s annual AR/VR conference on Thursday, where he outlined the company’s virtual-reality vision for the future.

The CEO sketched his plans to build the “metaverse” – a digital world built over our own, comprising virtual reality headsets and augmented reality. “We believe the metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.”

Sporting a blue infinity symbol as a logo, the new holding company Meta will encompass Facebook, its largest subsidiary, as well as apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp and the virtual reality brand Oculus.

In recent earnings reports, the company announced its virtual reality segment had grown so substantially it would now report its revenue separately, dividing its products into two categories.

Those categories include a “family of apps” including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, and the “reality labs” products including AR and VR as well as any related hardware.

Zuckerberg on Thursday said he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade. He described futuristic plans to create a digital world, in which users will feel they are with one another and have a “sense of presence” despite being far apart.

The platform would allow users to customize their avatars and digital spaces, decorating a digital office with pictures, videos and even books. The presentation imagined users inviting friends over virtually, two people attending a concert together despite being across the world from one another, and colleagues making work presentations remotely.

“When I send my parents a video with my kids, they’re going to feel like they’re right in the moment with us not peering through a little window,” he said.

Yet he admitted the company has a long way to go. “The best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself,” Zuckerberg added, though “it doesn’t fully exist yet”.

Still, Zuckerberg said, Facebook rolled out two of its metaverse projects in beta last year: Horizon World, which allows users to invite friends over into their digital world, and Horizon Workrooms, which does the same in professional settings. He also said Facebook plans to further explore NFTs and crypto to help facilitate media that can be represented digitally, and is working on gaming applications.

Zuckerberg said the company would continue to offer services and hardwire to developers at low cost or for free, in an attempt to attract a critical mass of people to the platform. The company has also dedicated $150m to developers to create new apps, games and immersive programs in the metaverse.

“We want to serve as many people as possible, which means working to make our services cost less not more,” he said.

Facebook’s rebranding effort is not unprecedented in the tech space – Google in 2015 restructured into a new holding company, placing subsidiaries including its namesake search engine, YouTube and its self-driving car firm Waymo under a new umbrella firm called Alphabet.

But Facebook’s announcement comes amid deep regulatory and PR challenges. Those include a series of recent reports based on documents leaked by the whistleblower Frances Haugen that exposed toxic business practices and internal knowledge of its longterm negative public health impact.

The revelations from the “Facebook papers” are just the latest struggle for the embattled company, which has in recent years been served with a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), was the subject of numerous congressional hearings, and in 2019 was fined $5bn by the Federal Trade Commission in 2019 for “deceiving” users.

Critics of the platform contended on Thursday that the metaverse project is a distraction from the company’s PR crisis, and that the company risks making the same mistakes as it has in the past.

“The fact that Zuckerberg has set his sights firmly on the so-called ‘metaverse’ while societies all over the world are scrambling to alleviate the myriad harms caused by his platforms just goes to show how out of touch Facebook is with real people,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

In her recent testimony, Haugen said she was “shocked” to hear how much the company was investing in the metaverse while its safety efforts failed. The company has dedicated $10bn in 2021 to the metaverse while its safety division received $5bn in funding.

“To echo Frances Haugen’s words, just imagine what Facebook could achieve if it devoted even a fraction of its metaverse investment on proper content moderation to enforce even the most basic standards of truth, decency and progress,” Ahmed said.

Others warned Facebook’s metaverse launch could mean a new space in which the company has a monopoly, amid ongoing antitrust concerns.

Zuckerberg on Thursday tried to get ahead of such privacy and security concerns. Nick Clegg, the company’s vice-president of global affairs, acknowledged that the company has faced criticism for not envisioning the long-term impacts of its problems.

“We have years until the metaverse as we envision it is fully realized. This is the beginning of the journey,” Clegg said.

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INEC Says 132, 626 Voters Cards Uncollected In Anambra

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that 132,626 Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) are yet to be collected in Anambra State.

The commission added that it has relocated six local government area collection centres in the state, as a result of the insecurity ravaging most parts of the country.

The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Queen Elizabeth Agwu, stated this on Wednesday, during a meeting with stakeholders at the state headquarters of the commission.

Agwu who addressed all the political parties representatives, traditional rulers and civil society groups said the local government areas where the relocation of collation centres took place include Ihiala, Nnewi South, Onitsha North, Orumba North, Awka North and Awka South.

She said:“The collection of PVCs has been extended to Saturdays and Sundays in Anambra State.

“We need enough security to carry out this function. If people fail to collect their PVC, they will be shortchanging themselves, and doing a disservice to the people of their area.

“The 2023 general elections will be free, fair and credible, not only in Anambra State but the entire country. We have done the necessary work, and we hope to deliver.”

She gave a breakdown of the figures of uncollected PVCs in most local government areas as follows:

Ayamelum – 1,960; Dunukofia – 6,222; Idemili South – 4’589; Anaocha – 885; Orumba South -6,656; Onitsha South – 12,274; Idemili North – 16,256; Aguata – 12675; Njikoka – 7,009; Ogbaru – 10,755 and Anambra East – 7,717.

Others are Nnewi South – 1,841; Awka North – 1,153; Anambra West – 1,387; Orumba North – 2,393; Oyi – 7,982; Onitsha North – 9,990; Ihiala – 4,058; Nnewi North – 8,700; Ekwusigo – 3,350 and Awka South – 4,971.

 

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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