Meta is testing a much-anticipated feature for Threads, the compact microblogging application. The biggest social networking platform is aiming to make it possible to text-search for posts. Threads didn’t arrive with several essential and expected features. Users are unfortunately restricted to account searches only. But it appears that will soon change, which means there will be more options to find posts.
An incomplete app with immense potential
One week was all it took for Threads to reach 100 million users. However, in the weeks that have subsequently passed, engagement has decreased, and there are currently an estimated 8 million DAUs. The company has been working to boost Threads engagement, which has decreased since the initial frenzy. Threads, Meta’s competitor on Twitter (or X), is currently limited in many ways. For instance, on Threads, users are unable to DM or update the alt text. Although hashtags are legally allowed in a Threads post, they are meaningless because they cannot be clicked on. There is no hot topic area on Threads.
But over the past few weeks, the business has quickly introduced some of the most in-demand services. Meta added a page where you may view likes and the following feeds, making the app remarkably user-friendly. A web version of Threads was just recently made available to users due to tremendous interest. By doing this, Meta gave users the option to post from a device other than their phone. It will be interesting to see if the web version of Threads and having real, helpful searches can stop the decreasing trend of Threads.
They also added the repost tab.
Users can only currently search for usernames on Threads. The business is aiming to provide full text-search, though. In Australia and New Zealand, it has already begun testing this feature. It also has larger expansion ambitions in the works for additional English-speaking nations. When it will occur, though, is yet unknown. Users might not soon be able to utilize complex search capabilities or filters because this is an early version of the search engine. It’s noteworthy that Mastodon has begun rolling out a new version of the pop-up search bar search with easily accessible filters to hunt for posts with media or look for topics within a certain time window.
Meta is thinking about releasing premium versions of Facebook and Instagram that would be ad-free for users in the European Union, according to The New York Times. These modifications are the result of ongoing regulatory review. It is evidence that, as a result of political decisions, the way Americans and Europeans view technology may diverge. In the European Union, Meta would keep providing free versions of Facebook and Instagram with ads. It is still unknown how much the apps’ commercial versions will be priced or when the company plans to release them.
Ads would not appear in the Facebook and Instagram apps for members. According to the New York Times, three individuals provided information on this matter while maintaining anonymity saying that the plans were classified. Providing customers with an alternative to the company’s ad-based services that depend on analyzing people’s data, may help Meta fight off privacy concerns and other criticism from EU regulators.
Meta and the European Union
Offering users free social networking services and selling advertising space to businesses looking to reach their audience have been the two main focuses of Meta. The premium tier offering would go down as one of the most concrete cases to date of how businesses are being forced to rethink products. Furthermore, it would align with the changing data privacy laws and other governmental regulations, particularly in Europe. The EU and other European regulators have been at odds with Meta over alleged privacy breaches from its ad-tracking services and data transfers. In accordance with GDPR, Meta was fined $1.3 billion by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission for sending European users’ data to the United States. Recent data transfer agreements between the US and the EU have loosened limitations on social media sites.
The court for the European Union effectively forbade Meta from integrating user data gathered across its sites. It contained user-submitted data as well as information from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Additionally, Irish regulators fined the corporation £390 million in January. They cited requiring users to consent to tailored adverts in order to use Facebook as the reason. In response, Meta has already started providing a way for users in the EU to opt out of receiving targeted advertising. Further, it was suggested that Meta would change it such that everyone in the area could opt-in.
Meta’s commitment to EU expansion
The European Union is made up of 27 nations and about 450 million people. With the changing laws, regulations, and court decisions, consumers in the EU may start to witness distinct forms of consumer technology products. Meta has witnessed the willingness to develop paid memberships. The “Digital Markets Act,” another EU law focusing on advertising, will go into effect at the end of the year. According to Meta, allowing users to choose between using an ad-based service and accessing the paid versions of Facebook or Instagram could allay some of the worries of European regulators. Even if few users choose the paid version, offering it could benefit Meta’s interests in the area. Because of regulatory issues, Meta has yet to launch Threads, a competitor to X in Europe.
Additionally, to overcome its difficulties in Europe, Meta is working to revive its operations. This comes after the worldwide economic unease slowed the expansion of its ad sales. Meta is currently focusing on the immersive virtual environment of the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO is promoting the ambitious Metaverse project that is still in its infancy. The development of artificial intelligence technology and their integration into more Meta products are the executives’ main priorities. With this step, Meta is looking to empower its users with choice. The subscription plan is a significant move to strike the right balance between personalized experience and data privacy concerns in this evolving digital landscape.
Despite previous reports claiming that less than 1,000 DAUs are using Meta’s $36 billion virtual metaverse platform, the company has released a closed beta test of Horizon Worlds for cellphones. The tech behemoth continues to work on bringing Horizon Worlds to mobile and the web. Similar to Rec Room, it allows users to design their own VR social games and experiences by placing and rearranging shapes using controllers. In order to create fluid functionality, it also offers a visual coding system.
Joining a queue for the closed beta test will give people another entry point into Meta’s virtual reality social setting. Meta anticipates that soon users will interact with their avatars in a variety of brand-new ways for a growing number of activities. It will welcome them into the larger metaverse experience and promote more VR adoption. The firm explained on the registration site that “more worlds are coming soon,” adding that “we are slowly rolling out worlds to mobile and web users as we ensure a great experience on mobile and web.” The firm’s virtual reality world, named Super Rumble, will soon be available on both mobile and web, it added.
Horizon Worlds on Mobile and Web
More people will be able to interact in Meta’s cutting-edge digital world thanks to the release of Horizon Worlds on mobile. It is anticipated that it will serve as the starting point for advanced social interaction. It will work like smartphone gaming apps, allowing users to move their avatar around the screen and communicate with other VR players. Although the lack of legs in the VR avatars continues to cause players to despair, Meta is still ironing out some of the presentational quirks.
Horizon Worlds will be accessible on Android devices via the current Meta Quest app. However iPhone users can only utilize the web-based version. This is probably because of Apple’s policy prohibiting apps from serving as games.
A look at Meta Horizon Worlds Mobile (running on Pixel 6a) pic.twitter.com/c4eJHJJG7o
— Luna (@Lunayian) August 25, 2023
Super Rumble – the only accessible game
Super Rumble is the debut arena-style shooter game to be made available on mobile devices by Meta’s first-party company Ouro Interactive. Additionally, it is the only Horizon World currently using TypeScript, 3D asset imports, and the platform’s anticipated next generation creator tools.
Meta on bringing games to mobile and the web
Mobile and online development for Meta’s virtual reality game platform is still in its infancy. They are also aiming to make more worlds accessible. As they keep testing the experience, Meta clarifies that not all content will be accessible to everyone. Meta will have a better chance of growing Horizon Worlds’ user base by bringing problematic apps to mobile and online devices. Additionally, it will have a chance to achieve its long-term objectives of increased metaverse development and broad VR acceptance.
Meta wants to tap into how the next cohort of consumers are used to conducting their regular social contacts through mobile connections in a game-like environment. Nowadays, kids don’t ride bicycles to a nearby park to meet up like they used to. Instead, they now connect with their buddies mostly online in game environments like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft. According to Meta, the next gen will be eager to broaden such interactions into a wider range of activities. Consumers may eventually transition to bigger settings and immersive VR experiences thanks to the Horizon Worlds mobile experience.
Advancing to the next phase
Recent media attention has focused on Meta’s planned release of their Quest 3 VR headset. It is scheduled to go on sale this fall. Meta is attempting to attract curious mobile users and VR players. It is releasing the new generation headset concurrently with the Horizon smartphone application. It is a vital step towards promoting the metaverse. The metaverse may still be on the horizon even though it hasn’t yet attracted the attention of key adopters. Another bridge leading to the next level is this one.
Social media behemoth Meta stated that the web version of its microblogging app Threads will launch the following week as it prepares to battle rival X. Since the short-form content app’s release, the web version feature has annoyingly been absent. One of the numerous features that people have requested from Threads is the availability of a desktop version. Threads currently post on the web, but access is restricted. This is attributed to the app’s design to work on mobile devices.
Threads’ Web Presence
The web version launch plans for Thread are still tentative and remain susceptible to change at any time. One of the reasons people left Threads, at least in comparison to X, is because of this functionality. One of the service’s main flaws, especially for business customers, is that there isn’t a functional web version of it. This is because not everyone chooses to use apps on their cell phones.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, announced that the business was working on integrating the feature along with improved search. On the platform, users can only look for usernames as of now. The upgrades are scheduled to roll out in a few weeks. The web version of Threads is currently undergoing internal testing, according to Threads and Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri. To combat misinformation and propaganda, Threads has begun to display labels for state-controlled media organizations. In a Threads post, he stated,
We’re working on it! We’ve been using an early version internally for a week or two. Still needs some work before we can open it up to everyone though… It’s a little bit buggy right now, you don’t want it just yet. As soon as it is ready, we will share it with everybody else.
A web-based version of Threads would be a big advantage for Meta in its ongoing competition with X, according to Sam Saliba, a former global brand marketing head at Instagram who still keeps in touch with individuals at Meta. It would increase the company’s capacity for gathering information, expand its market reach, and add fresh attributes.
Threads’ momentum faces a slippery slope
The debut of Threads was an attempt to compete with social media site X. It came in time to win over some of the users upset with the modifications made by Elon Musk. The social media app was well accepted by users, surpassing 100 million monthly active users in just one week. However, it lacks key elements that would keep it alive. According to Similar Web data obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the number of threads with active users has decreased to about 10 million. The survey also revealed that, compared to its peak usage right after the introduction, Threads users now only spend 2.4 minutes a day using the app. In contrast, X gets about 363.7 million MAUs. There has been criticism that the app only offers basic content produced by brand executives and celebrities. The informal discussions and real-time responses to events at its peak made Twitter or X, feel dynamic and interesting.
The decision is timely because the site is having trouble keeping users. During an internal company town hall the month prior, Mark Zuckerberg informed his staff that user retention was better than anticipated but not ideal. According to him, the decrease in users was expected, and retention would increase as new features, like the desktop version, are implemented. Other recent updates from Meta include the option to customize post alerts for individual users and read posts in a kind of chronological feed. Additionally, they have also given users the option to utilize their Mastodon profile to confirm a link and a following tab.
The quarterly results for big tech companies are out. Here are some key takeaways for advertisers and marketers.
Microsoft’s fiscal year has been challenging on many fronts. The acquisition of Xandr, the ad-buying platform, and the increase in search volume revenues failed to produce satisfactory results, making Microsoft miss the mark in Q4. With continuous commitments to investing in artificial intelligence technologies, analysts predicted the quarter to be successful for Microsoft. The company attributed stagnant growth to a decline in advertising spending, which was lower than a quarter on quarter.
Its Talent Solutions contributed to the company’s revenue growth exceeding expectations. Despite the increased revenue, Microsoft reported a reduction in numbers due to low ad spending. The tech giant concluded it was due to marketing solutions decline. LinkedIn’s revenue increased due to growth in Talent solutions. Microsoft Cloud showed promising growth in all of its businesses with improvements in its verticals. Search and news advertising went up with the Xandr acquisition.
By the numbers:
- Revenue was up by 8% increasing to $56.2 billion.
- Advertising and news search revenues up to $86 million, a 3% increase including traffic acquisition cost, 8% increase excluding traffic acquisition cost.
- Azure Cloud revenue growth slowed from 27% to 26%.
- LinkedIn revenue increased by 5%.
- Microsoft Cloud’s quarterly revenue was 21% or $30.3 billion YoY.
Currently, the company is prioritizing developing and spearheading safe generative AI models and practices. Their aim is to help customers use Microsoft Cloud to make the most of their digital resources and drive operations control.
Satya Nadella, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft stated in the Q4 results announcement,
We remain focused on leading the new AI platform shift, helping customers use the Microsoft Cloud to get the most value out of their digital spend, and driving operating leverage.
Amy Hood, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft cited,
Advertising spend was slightly lower than anticipated which impacted Search and News advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. For LinkedIn, we expect revenue growth in the low to mid-single digits.
She further added,
Even with share gains in our hiring business, growth will continue to be impacted by the overall markets for recruiting and advertising, especially in the technology industry where we have significant exposure.
Meta produced results in Q2 that exceeded analysts’ expectations. Revenues from advertising rose robustly. The revenue uptick signaled the social giant’s ad business recovery after previous years of gloom and cross-border concerns. Meta cited the increase in DAUs for Reels, the company’s short-form video content app. This attracts 200 billion people to Facebook and Instagram. The app also generated $10 billion annually, which is a $3 billion increase Q/Q.
The company credits the increase in ad revenues to Threads, the text-based app, and continued investment in artificial intelligence. The company ascribed the increase in ad impressions to a heightened focus on TikTok’s rival Reels and AI-driven products as the key factors in the positive outcome. Meta commits to AI advancements and data centers. The CEO has also highlighted AI as the focal point of Meta’s growth strategy. He predicts revenue from AI-powered structures for marketers, AI chat agents, and productivity tools for employees.
By the numbers:
- Revenue up to $32 billion, up 11%.
- Facebook DAUs are 2.06 billion on average, an increase of 5% year over year.
- Facebook’s MAUs of 3.03 billion increased by 3% year-over-year.
- Family daily active people (DAP) 3.07 billion on average, 7% up Yo-Y.
- Family monthly active people (MAP) 3.88 billion and 6% higher Yo-Y.
- Ad impressions in Q2 2023 increased 34% year-over-year and the average price per ad decreased 16% Yo-Y.
Susan Li, Meta’s Chief Financial Officer however stated that their ongoing commitment to invest in Reality Labs, Meta’s unit for metaverse-related initiatives negatively impacted their results. However, it will not hamper their ambition to spearhead metaverse developments.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta added,
We had a good quarter. We continue to see strong engagement across our apps and we have the most exciting roadmap I’ve seen in a while with Llama 2, Threads, Reels, new AI products in pipeline, and the launch of Quest 3 this fall.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company overcame its advertising slump in the Q/Q, signaling a return to momentum with favorable results. The revival of their revenue graph was needed to reshape the competitive AI technology landscape. The Q2 results erased concerns about Google losing digital ad prowess to AI advancements on the financial forefront.
The company attributed the overall growth to increasing Google Cloud Services demand, which is anticipated to adopt AI as it advances. The rise in revenues can be traced to costs from YouTube subscriptions and the Pixel family’s content acquisition. YouTube witnessed a surge in stabilized ad spending despite competition from TikTok. Google Cloud revenues were up due to its AI-optimized structure which piqued consumer interest.
By the numbers:
- Revenue was $74.6 billion, up 7%.
- Ad sales rose 3% to $58.1 billion.
- YouTube revenues increased by 4% to $77 billion driven by brand advertising.
- Network advertising revenues were down 5% at $7.9 billion.
- Google Search and other advertising revenues were up 5%, to $42.6 billion.
- Google Cloud revenues are up 28%, at $23.5 billion.
Alphabet is certain that the money needed to finance AI advancements will come from Google’s advertising engine. As such, Google has predicted that it will face more difficulties not only from rivals like ChatGPT, Microsoft, and Bing but also from Amazon’s shopping unit and TikTok and Reddit in trending topics. As part of its efforts to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities, search, and advertising capabilities, the CEO mentioned that AI would be integrated across its product groups.
Sundar Pichai, CEO, said in the announcement,
There’s exciting momentum across our products and the company, which drove strong results this quarter. Our continued leadership in AI and our excellence in engineering and innovation are driving the next evolution of Search and improving all our services.
CFO Ruth Porat commented,
We expect elevated levels of investment in our technical infrastructure, increasing through 2023 and continuing in 2024. The primary driver is to support AI opportunities across Alphabet, including investments in GPUs and proprietary TPUs, as well as data center capacity. With all that said, we remain committed to durably re-engineering our cost base to help create capacity for these investments in support of long-term, sustainable financial value.
Amazon released its second-quarter earnings, and the numbers were impressive. According to CEO Andy Jassy, Amazon saw developments in areas they had been steadily advancing in for the past quarters. The e-commerce giant attributes its revenue growth to the rise in price points, selections, and convenience available to its consumers. Amazon continues to see strong demand for everyday essentials, positive feedback from customers, and updates to its website, mobile apps, and customizations.
AWS growth stabilized in Q2. Moreover, it continues to grow with customers, partner networks, functionality, and operational presentation. AWS revenues were twice as high as any other provider. Amazon is constantly working to further AWS technologies and features to aid customers in leveraging generative AI, productivity, and security. Ad revenue increased due to performance-based advertising efforts, improved customer relevance of ads, and ML benefits to understand ROI and ad spending for brands.
By the numbers:
- $134.4 billion revenue, an increase of 11% Y-o-Y vs estimates of $131.5 billion by Refinitiv analysts.
- Advertising revenue is up 22% Yo-o-Y, to $10.68 billion.
- AWS sales revenue growth of 12% Yo-Y to $22.1 billion.
- Subscription service revenues including Prime memberships were up 14%, at $9.8 billion.
Amazon is currently working on enhancing Machine Learning models to help marketers access audiences that were difficult to reach with Amazon ads. During an AWS event in New York, Amazon also committed to enhancing generative AI-powered applications with the latest and improved pre-trained large language models (LLMs).
CEO Andy Jassy mentioned in the earnings call,
As the economy has been uncertain over the last year, AWS customers have needed assistance cost optimizing to withstand this challenging time. They have also needed assistance reallocating spending to new initiatives that better drive growth. We’ve proactively helped customers do this.
Apple reported their results for the third quarter that were better than their expectations, however, revenue was down Yo-Y. The company attributed the growth in its revenue to healthy iPhone sales across the world. Apple set an all-time high record for services revenues, including advertising, the app store, and music, exceeding its predictions. The slump in iPad sales revenue was accredited to the iPad Air launch in the prior year. They continue to invest in product enhancements to encourage customer satisfaction which was reported to be 98% across the U.S.
By the numbers:
- Revenue was $81.8 billion, down 1% Yo-Y.
- iPhone revenues are $39.7 down 2% Y-o-Y.
- $6.8 billion, down 7%, for Mac.
- iPad $5.6 billion, down 20%.
- Wearables home, and accessories revenues were $8.3 billion up 2% with expectations.
- Services revenue $21.2 acceleration of 8%.
Apple is releasing its most ambitious and advanced personal electronic device, the Apple Vision Pro early next year for ordinary consumers. It is currently only available to advertisers, content creators, etc for demo purposes and has received stellar reviews.
AI and machine learning will continue to be an integral part of product design. Apple is planning to introduce AI and ML-powered live voicemail in iOS 17. They have also invested in research into generative AI and continue to responsibly enhance their products with these technologies. This is with the goal of enriching people’s lives.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said,
We are happy to report that we had an all-time revenue record in Services during the June quarter, driven by over 1 billion paid subscriptions, and we saw continued strength in emerging markets thanks to robust sales of iPhone. From education to the environment, we are continuing to advance our values, while championing innovation that enriches the lives of our customers and leaves the world better than we found it.
Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO, further remarked,
Our June quarter year-over-year business performance improved from the March quarter, and our installed base of active devices reached an all-time high in every geographic segment.
Snapchat reported its quarterly results and they were mixed. Although revenue was up Q/Q, it still saw a Yo-Y dip. Just like its competitors, Snapchat is grappling with a slump in advertising revenues. Snapchat also introduced an exciting and innovative AI feature a few months back to keep the platform happening and engaged. My AI, Snapchat’s AI chatbot is now integrated into group chats, recommendations, and ‘Lens’ suggestions.
By the numbers:
- Revenue was $1,068 million compared to $1,111 million the previous year
- DAUs 397 million, an increase of 50 million or 14% Yo-Y
- 4 million global users for paid subscriptions introduced in the previous year
This quarter, the social media company pledged to improve advertisers’ expectations through machine learning technology. It will do so to upgrade its framework, find creative approaches to measuring and optimizing ad spending, and encourage new leadership. Its continuous investment in ML infrastructure has improved company ranking and content personalization.
Snapchat believes that it will face healthy community growth in the next quarter with expected DAU increases of 405 to 406 million.
Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO said,
We are excited by the progress we have made delivering increased return on investment for our advertising partners, growing our community to 397 million daily active users, and reaching more than 4 million Snapchat+ subscribers.
Omnicom Media Group
Omnicom Media Group ended its second quarter of 2023 on a high note. The organic growth rate was up 3.4% compared to the previous quarter’s results, placing it within its projected range. Omnicom spearheads generative AI developments in the media business. Their ongoing strategic alliances with companies like Adobe, AWS (Amazon Web Services), and Microsoft help them do this.
The business has also promised to invest in media sales capabilities, environmentally friendly technology, and data from first parties. They are currently realigning their staff to match strategy choices and outlook.
By the numbers:
- 3.4% organic revenue growth in Q2 23, with $3,609.9 million revenue
- Advertising Media revenue growth was 4.2%, while organic growth grew by 5.1%
- Third-party costs which include supplier costs the company incurs when providing services to clients increased to $86.8 million
- Organic growth rate for Public Relations was up 0.1%, while execution & support decreased by 3.8%
John Wren, Chairman and CEO of Omnicom said in the announcement,
While the balance of the year will continue to see economic uncertainty, we are entering a dynamic and exciting new era for our company. Omnicom has secure leading positions in generative AI technologies and partnerships to deliver on our promise to achieve the best outcome for our clients and increase the operational efficiency of our company.
EBay has exceeded Wall Street’s expectations in all key metrics and delivered positive results. However, the marketplace’s weakened momentum among active buyers was worrying. Gross merchandise sales decreased also recorded.
In spite of this, the e-commerce marketplace believes that its increasing focus on AI integration into its platform will drive further user momentum. The company currently prioritizes laying a strong foundation for generative AI tools across the website to aid marketers and product listers.
By the numbers:
- Revenue was up to $2.51 billion, an increase of 5% from the previous year
- Advertising revenues were $367 million, up 33.5% Yo-Y.
- Promoted Listings revenue was up 47%, reporting $341 million
- The active buyer base declined by 4%
In the next five years, eBay plans to implement AI enhancements in every part of its organization. They are constantly integrating generative AI features into their site. They are also working towards reinventing the e-commerce landscape. Its work has already produced stellar results and hopes to deliver long-term results.
Jamie Iannone, CEO said,
The foundational work we’ve accomplished over the past 3 years has set us up for a new phase of innovation. Our teams are focused on thinking bigger and moving faster as we build game-changing features and functionality for customers to keep eBay at the forefront of eCommerce.
Meta, the parent organization of Facebook and Instagram, agreed to obtain user consent before acquiring private information in Europe. The business announced in a blog post that it intended to change the legal basis for its operations in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area), and Switzerland from “Legitimate Interest” to “Consent.” These changes will be incorporated in October. Meta’s ad space might be impacted. The platform will still allow marketers to run specialized and targeted advertising campaigns across Europe, thanks to Meta’s assurance.
The internet powerhouse and the EU have been at odds for a year. Meta says these adjustments were made to keep up with the Irish Data Protection Commission’s growing and shifting regulatory requirements. Meta manages its European activities through the IDPC, which oversees EU data regulations.
According to Meta’s blog post,
There is no immediate impact to our services in the region. Once this change is in place, advertisers will still be able to run personalized advertising campaigns to reach potential customers and grow their businesses. We have factored this change into our business outlook and related public disclosure made to date.
The move comes as a salvation for Meta
The EU penalized numerous large digital companies, including Meta, for their ethical and business practices. Due to the strict requirements of GDPR regarding data privacy, this has affected their targeted advertising methods. Meta wouldn’t be able to analyze users’ preferences and behavioral patterns if many users refused to let Meta capture their data. It would be difficult to establish an audience for targeted advertising, which would undermine their ad operations. Because of this, advertisers can decide not to use the platform, which reduces profit from ad space.
Meta says these adjustments, may require at least three months. It claims that getting consent will be a challenge. As a result, in October the company will begin gathering data from users throughout Europe. But Meta has suggested that it will hold off until an update to its policies is in compliance with any modifications made by EU regulators. The exact timeline is to be confirmed.
Why is it so critical for Meta?
Users of Facebook and Instagram can currently only set default permissions in Meta so that data can be collected to make money from targeted advertisements. Furthermore, EU data regulators previously rejected Meta’s claims that the “Legitimate Interest” justification for collecting users’ personal data was valid.
Meta will maintain compliance with governing bodies’ regulations and promote transparency in its data handling methods with upgrades addressing privacy issues. However, the pioneering Digital Marketer’s Act of the EU, which forbids internet doorkeepers from engaging in anti-competitive behavior, is likely to have some consequences.
Meta may breathe a sigh of relief with the upgrades to their privacy policies. The tech company is yet to launch Threads, their text-based app, in Europe. After a year of conflict with the regulatory authority, they are now able to cater to their European audiences.
WhatsApp transformed voice messages communication. It made people’s lives easier by sharing voice messages quickly and safely. And now, Meta-owned WhatsApp has released a brand-new app version. Users may now send and receive brief video messages in their chats thanks to the newly added capability. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced about the update in his latest post on Facebook.
What’s so different?
The ability to send real-time video communications with a 60 second time constraint distinguishes this function from others. End-to-end encryption is used in the functionality, which is like voice messaging in privacy protection. According to a statement made by the app platform, the rollout is currently accessible to beta testers and will soon be available globally. The function is still available to those that manually download the latest version app from the Play Store or App Store.
sometimes you just have to see it to believe it 👀 now you can capture the moment right when it happens with a Video Message. pic.twitter.com/QiDTRhRRJ6
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) July 27, 2023
WhatsApp asserts that the inability to edit, amend, or forward video messages makes them distinctive. The platform maintains that these communications are always genuine and sincere. In other words, a video message sent to you is intended only for you and no one else.
How can one send video messages?
- Open WhatsApp and open the chat you want to send the video message to
- Tap on the icon at the bottom right to switch from microphone to video mode
- Record your video and send it to your intended recipient
- For hands free mode, swipe up to lock and record just like for voice messages.
When the user opens the chat, the message will continue to play without sound. Only when they tap on the video will the sound be turned on. The application has always had video options available. But now that it has this upgraded capability, the procedure is much easier.
WhatsApp users can now block incoming calls thanks to the latest feature. They are able to revise their messages within 15 minutes of sending them thanks to another update. WhatsApp is working on another update that will allow platform users to select usernames.
More about Meta
The rollout announcement follows Meta’s stellar Q2 2023 performance results. Thanks to their expertise in artificial intelligence, Meta has increased revenue while expanding their advertising reach. The Facebook-parent firm also just debuted Threads, a text-based social network, which set records for sign-ups. They have also concentrated on increasing AI capabilities.
With this addition to WhatsApp, their most popular messaging service, Meta intends to enable users to establish a quick and smooth connection that brings people together regardless of distance.
Meta India and India AI, the independent commercial unit operating within the Digital India Corporation have formed a dynamic cooperation. They intend to create a framework for collaborating and working together on AI and cutting-edge emerging technology. According to the official press release, both groups will concentrate on supporting ethical AI practices through collaboratively creating fundamental tools and procedures.
India AI is an effort to create an eco-system in India and an educational portal with research capabilities. Through this collaboration, Meta India and India AI hope to make Meta’s open-source AI models usable by the public. Additionally, it is intended to advance translation-driven innovation, generative AI, cognitive systems, and social inclusion while enhancing governmental service delivery.
India AI and Meta India will additionally develop a center of excellence, according to their recommendations. To encourage the culture of start-ups in AI and emerging technology is the goal. The partnership will enable India AI to capitalize on Meta’s AI research models, including Llama, Massively Multilingual Speech and more. This will enable Meta to concentrate on Indian language databases. It will make it possible to prioritize LLMs and translations for languages with limited resources.
Moreover, they share a vision to raise shareholder awareness about emerging technologies’ benefits and hazards. These parties comprise decision-makers, businesses, the civic society at large, and the general population. Moreover, India AI and Meta India will work to make AI resources more accessible to researchers, start-ups, and enterprises with minimal funding sources.
Both organizations are committed to improving initiatives and suggestions. This will raise AI and cutting-edge technologies expertise among those working in this field. It will help to advance AI development in the nation. The industry is about to see a change like none before as this alliance opens the door to an era fueled by AI.
Here’s what they said
Abhishek Singh, CEO of India AI stated,
India is at the forefront of adopting digital technologies and it is evident that AI and Emerging Technologies will play a pivotal role in expanding the advantages of technology to a broader population. Through this partnership with Meta, the joint research and development endeavors will tackle large-scale challenges by leveraging cutting edge AI technologies.
Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs, Meta commented,
Meta’s open approach to AI innovations is complementary to India’s leadership on digital issues. India AI is an exciting programme and with close collaboration between government and industry, we can strengthen India’s leadership and help to ensure AI tools are built for India’s unique needs.
Microsoft and Meta, formerly Facebook Inc., have announced the launch of their next generation of large language models (LLMs). Llama 2 will be the latest addition to their growing family of LLMs on Azure and Windows. The collaboration will deepen Microsoft and Meta’s existing alliance. Meta identified Microsoft as their preferred partner with Llama 2. Currently, Llama 2 is accessible to businesses and researchers. They intend to allow access to a large cohort of businesses. Customers will also include academics, tech industry experts, and anyone else who recognizes the value of accelerating AI technology advancements. It is currently under public review.
Llama 2’s capabilities will offer developers flexibility in the type of model they wish to create and support open and experimental models. The approach aims to make it possible for organizations and developers to create generative AI tools and experiences. Meta and Microsoft are dedicated to liberalizing AI and its benefits.
John Montgomery, Corporate Vice President, Azure AI at Microsoft, in the announcement stated,
The announcement builds on our partnership to accelerate innovation in the era of AI and further extends Microsoft’s open model ecosystem and position as the world’s supercomputing platform for AI.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) July 18, 2023
Customers will now be able to modify and implement Llama 2’s 7B, 13B, and 70B parameters in a more direct and safe manner on Azure. The model will also support Windows PCs. Developers can use Llama by focusing on DirectML execution source through ONNX Runtime. In addition to integrating AI into their apps, it will produce a seamless workflow.
Meta and Microsoft’s evolving relationship
For AI development, Meta and Microsoft have a longstanding relationship. The collaboration first began with the integration of ONNX Runtime with PyTorch to refine the developer experience and Azure as Meta’s choice for a strategic cloud provider.
Azure’s specially designed AI supercomputing platform is created to assist the world’s top AI organizations in developing, honing, and utilizing some of the most resilient AI capabilities. The Llama 2 model equips programmers with tools to use Azure AI’s robust modeling, training, modifying, interpreting, and supporting abilities. It will be the latest addition to Microsoft’s Azure AI model catalog. This catalog will act as a central point for foundation models. This will enable developers and machine learning (ML) experts to find, examine, customize, and distribute huge pre-built AI models widely.
A Vow to Responsibility
Both companies pledge to build AI that is centered around transparency and access. They know the risks that accompany AI. Meta and Microsoft are committed to building responsible AI models and provide a number of resources to help those who use Llama 2
- Safety testing: Several internal and external efforts have red-teamed or safely tested the finely refined models. To help improve the model, their teams created an aggressive prompt. They also commissioned third parties to conduct external combat testing to find gaps in performance.
- Transparency: Both companies promise to outline the model’s tuning and evaluation procedures as well as point out any areas of improvement. Their transparency plan reveals known difficulties and problems they have encountered, offering suggestions to resolve them.
- Responsible resource for developers: In order to help developers with responsible development and safety assessments, they have also created a user guide. These procedures discuss the best practices for the best research underway right now on ethical generative AI.
- Suitable Use Policy: To ensure these models are used ethically and responsibly, policies have been implemented prohibiting specific use cases.
Llama 2 will help programmers build customized experiences via a GitHub repo. They can fine-tune LLMs to meet their specific needs on Windows PCs using Subsystem for Linux and highly capable GPUs. Both Meta and Microsoft agree that making LLMs publicly accessible will aid in the creation of useful and secure generative AI
We are eager to witness what innovations and advancements this partnership brings in order to revolutionize the realm of AI!
Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly known as Facebook Inc.) has launched a new paid subscription service, allowing users to verify their accounts using government-issued identification. This verification will give users a blue tick mark, similar to what is already available on Twitter, to indicate that their accounts are authentic.
It will cost $11.99 for web access or $14.99 a month on iOS and Android. Meta’s new subscription service, which grants users a verification badge in exchange for a monthly fee, is similar to Twitter’s revamped Twitter Blue service. There will be no changes to accounts on Instagram and Facebook that are already verified based on prior requirements, including authenticity and notability.
How will subscribers benefit?
Subscribers to Meta’s new paid subscription service will enjoy several benefits, including,
- Account Verification
- Protection from impersonators
- Increased visibility of their posts
- Easy access to customer service
- Increased exposure on Instagram’s Explore page and Reels
- Reduction in fake accounts
Zuckerberg in a Facebook post said, Meta Verified “is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”
Meta is the latest social platform to add a paid subscription feature. But why?
Meta’s introduction of pay-for-identity verification on social media is a sign of the company’s efforts to diversify its revenue streams. Its ad business has declined following Apple’s decision to curtail its ability to track users’ online activities on iOS after it introduced stringent privacy changes. Last year, Facebook, which makes its money almost entirely through advertising, estimated that Apple’s move would lose the company $10 billion in ad revenue by 2022.
Meta is already late to the party! Other major platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat, have already launched premium subscription services to appeal to their most dedicated users and increase their average revenue per user (ARPU).
Meta Verified will be rolled out first in Australia and New Zealand this week and in other countries soon. While most other platforms have tested subscription plans in the U.S., Meta plans to start with a smaller market.
Paid verification badge programs are becoming more common as companies attempt to generate additional revenue. However, users are increasingly selective about paid services, even for products and services they receive. Identity verification is particularly intangible, which may make it even less appealing to users. Although it is a smart move to help diversify against the dependence on ad revenue, its success is undetermined. Conservatively, even if it converts a small percentage of its monthly active users, it can generate meaningful revenue.
It will be interesting to witness if the users find it valuable to pay for these services.