Zuckerberg’s Meta Pivot Is ‘Quite Odd’

  • IAC founder Barry Diller said there is “something quite strange” in Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse pivot.
  • The billionaire questioned Zuckerberg’s decision to focus on technology that “doesn’t exist yet.”
  • Meta has lost over 70% of its value since Facebook’s founder changed its name.

Media mogul Barry Diller had some harsh words for Mark Zuckerberg on Monday.

The founder of IAC, an internet and media conglomerate, said he has “great respect” for Zuckerberg, but questioned the Facebook founder’s decision to move toward the metaverse, a digital universe where users interact through avatars.

Diller has made billions to found and invest in top media companies such as Expedia Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. The 80-year-old is currently worth about $3.8 billion, according to the Forbes World’s Billionaire List.

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“If you change the name of your company to something that doesn’t exist yet to successfully bury something that exists in the wild, there’s something quite strange about that,” Diller said. interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box.

A spokesperson for Meta did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

After changing the name of Facebook’s parent company to Meta last year, Zuckerberg revamped Facebook with the aim of creating a world where people connect to a digital universe using virtual and augmented reality devices. The Facebook founder has spent $15 billion on the project so far and has said that the metaverse will one day be the way people “interact with the world.”

But, critics have said the technology isn’t there yet. Competitors like Snap and Apple have shied away from the term. Avatars in Meta’s Horizon World’s don’t even have legs yet and many users have taken to social media to mock Meta’s poor graphics.

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At the same time, Meta’s value has fallen amid Zuckerberg’s metaverse push as the company has lost more than 70% of its value since the Facebook co-founder first announced the name change. Last month, Meta shares fell 24% after the company missed earnings targets and Zuckerberg said he plans to spend billions more on the metaverse project in the coming year – a decision that led to several investors on the spot.

Ultimately, Diller said Zuckerberg would have been more successful if he had stuck to Facebook’s original vision.

“If he paid attention to his basic businesses, I think everything is good,” Diller told CNBC. “Those businesses are great. They’re great. I mean, built from nothing they’re just great businesses,” he said, noting that Facebook will face great gains if TikTok is banned in the United States – a move he thinks is very likely. .

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Republican lawmakers have been working in recent months to revive former President Donald Trump’s bid to ban TikTok over fears that US data is in the hands of the Chinese government. Last week, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr said Axios regulatory agencies like the Council on Foreign Investment in the US should take action to ban the app owned by Chinese media company ByteDance.

At Meta, Zuckerberg has continually copied the popular video app, offering features like Instragram Reels. In October, Zuckerberg referred to TikTok as “a very effective competitor.”

Do you work at Meta or have a tip to share? Contact the reporter from a non-work email at [email protected]


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