Maybe the metaverse can save Facebook. Maybe.

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook is trying to emphasize its new name and its push into the so-called metaverse.
  • People are speculating how much it will help the company’s damaged reputation.
  • Leaked materials have landed Facebook in a massive PR nightmare this month.

Facebook is in the middle of a PR nightmare the likes of which it hasn’t seen since the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Next week, the company is expected to announce a huge rebrand, which will focus on its expansion into the so-called metaverse.

It’s a “genius” and “classic” move in the world of branding strategy that could help Facebook, experts told Insider, but ultimately it may not be enough to save the company’s reputation.

“Fundamentally, however, this ‘so what’s next’ metaverse story will only save the company so much from public backlash,” Ashley Cooksley, managing director for North America at The Social Element, a social media management firm, told Insider.

At the epicenter of Facebook’s recent PR woes is a series of leaked documents given to the Wall Street Journal by whistleblower Frances Haugen. The internal documents purport to show Facebook knew it was harming people, specifically teenagers, and knew it years ago. The documents potentially give lawmakers plenty of ammunition for more regulations on the tech giant.

In the weeks since, Facebook has increasingly emphasized its push into the metaverse, a welcome distraction for the company.

The word “metaverse” is a term borrowed from science-fiction and refers to a future version of the internet that people access using VR and AR technology, rather than laptops and phones. CEO Mark Zuckerberg first publicly announced in July that he wants Facebook to eventually become a “metaverse company.”

Whatever name Zuckerberg settles on will reflect its metaverse mission, and Facebook will still exist within that umbrella – likely similar to the decision Google took in 2015 when it stood Alphabet up as its parent company.

The company is trying to “divert the conversation from their current problems onto the metaverse, which is exciting and futuristic,” Anne Olderog – senior partner at the consulting firm Vivaldi with 20 years of brand strategy experience – told Insider. “And truly, nobody understands” the metaverse, which is “also a brilliant move.”

The company will continue to face “grizzly” problems, but Facebook will certainly survive given its resources, political savvy, and lobbying power, Eric Schiffer, CEO of private equity firm The Patriarch Organization, told Insider.

“This is not the kiss of death for Mark Zuckerberg,” Schiffer said. “It is absolutely a genius move to shift away, to rebrand to the metaverse in the process, and wash away the past pain in part, but also own the space that will be the dominant battleground over the next couple of decades,” referring to the metaverse.

However, Olderog said Facebook’s focus on the metaverse as well as its rebrand is a “brilliant” idea, but it isn’t enough to counteract the damaged public perception that has left the company’s reputation in tatters.

“Ultimately you really need to do the fundamental work of addressing the problems because otherwise, you’re going to replicate the very same problems they’re now facing on the metaverse level,” she said.

Reputational damage isn’t the only thing Facebook has to worry about.

Facebook’s leaked documents revealed the company considers its popularity with children, tweens, and teens to be crucial to its survival in the face of competition from rivals like TikTok. That’s alarmed some critics.

Prof. Andrew Pryzbylski, a psychologist at the University of Oxford who has studied how children interact with social media and video games, said there was a particularly illuminating part in one of the leaked documents about children where interviewed subjects said they just wanted to “laugh and have a good time” on Facebook.

“I’m surprised that they [Facebook] didn’t buy Epic Games,” Pryzbylski added. “That was my first reaction when I read the papers,”

Epic Games makes the wildly popular “Fortnite,” and its CEO, Tim Sweeney, has also spoken publicly about the metaverse.

Pryzbylski is not sure whether Facebook will ever deliver the metaverse it has promised, but he does think the idea holds lots of potential if the company wants to cash in on kids’ attention through virtual reality and gaming-like experience. The danger, however, could come from the metaverse allowing Facebook to directly impact kids’ real lives since the space is so much more immersive.

“It’s both terrifying and potentially really inspiring,” he said.

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Facebook might be changing its name – and people have plenty of suggestions for what it should be

Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook is reportedly changing its name and may announce it next week.
  • Twitter has devolved into jokes and guesses on what the new brand might be.
  • “Zuckistan,” “Face,” and “Three Facebooks in a Trench Coat” are some of the ideas being thrown out.

Facebook is rebranding and will adopt a new name, The Verge reported late Tuesday.

The name, which could be announced as soon as next week, will steer the brand toward CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of becoming a “metaverse company” instead of merely a social media platform. The Facebook app will exist under the new brand’s name, kind of like Google existing under the Alphabet umbrella.

Inevitably, Twitter users have begun speculating about what it could be and poking fun at the news, which comes as Facebook remains embroiled in regulatory scrutiny and a broad public backlash.

Many users joked that Zuckerberg would rebrand the company as “The Facebook,” which was once the platform’s name before it famously dropped the “the.”

Facebook has been rocked in recent months by a series of Wall Street Journal reports, based on leaked documents, about several of the company’s business practices, including its research into Instagram’s effects on teens’ self-confidence. The whistleblower behind the leaks later testified in front of Congress, saying Facebook prioritizes profits over safety and needs intervention.

The metaverse concept has been portrayed in movies like “The Matrix.” It’s a virtual space where people can interact using digital avatars. Zuckerberg has called it “an embodied internet.”

Facebook said it’s hiring 10,000 people across Europe to specifically work on Facebook’s metaverse mission.

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An attorney general wants to add Mark Zuckerberg to a lawsuit against Facebook that has a massive potential penalty of $1.7 billion

Mark Zuckerberg at a Congressional Hearing
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • A district attorney general wants to add Mark Zuckerberg to a Facebook privacy lawsuit.
  • The lawsuit was filed in 2018 on behalf of people affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • If added as a respondent, Zuckerberg could face potential financial penalties, The NYT reported.

The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, wants to add Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a respondent to a privacy lawsuit against the company.

Racine told The New York Times he planned to file an amendment adding Zuckerberg to an ongoing case first filed against Facebook in 2018 on behalf of DC residents whose data was compromised during the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

A 2010 product change that ultimately facilitated the kind of data-scraping used by Cambridge Analytica was Zuckerberg’s “brain child,” Racine told The Times, citing evidence uncovered during a period of discovery on the case.

Facebook had tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, but a judge denied the request in January 2019, leading to a discovery period.

“Under these circumstances, adding Mr. Zuckerberg to our lawsuit is unquestionably warranted, and should send a message that corporate leaders, including the CEO, will be held accountable for their actions,” Racine told The Times in a statement.

If Zuckerberg was successfully added then he could be subject to financial penalties, The Times reported.

Per The Times, Racine can seek up to $5,000 for every resident who was affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In his original 2018 filing Racine said that more than 340,000 Washington DC residents were affected, although The Times reported that 300,000 residents were affected.

This could mean a maximum total penalty of up to $1.7 billion. It was not immediately clear how any financial penalty would be split between Facebook and Zuckerberg, should he be added as a respondent.

Insider emailed Racine’s office for clarification out of hours, and did not immediately receive a reply.

Facebook can try to get Racine’s amendment dismissed, The Times reported. Facebook did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider about whether it would seek to dismiss.

Facebook reached a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July 2019 over its failure to protect user privacy in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Washington Post reported in July 2019 that the FTC had considered a much higher fine, as well as the possibility of holding Zuckerberg personally responsible.

Facebook shareholders filed a lawsuit against the company in September this year saying it overpaid the Federal Trade Commission by nearly $5 billion as part of a “quid pro quo” to protect Zuckerberg.

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Facebook was fined $70 million by a competition regulator for breaching an order during its Giphy acquisition

Mark
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • The CMA, Britain’s competition regulator, has fined Facebook $70 million.
  • Facebook breached an order during its purchase of GIF platform Giphy, the agency said.
  • Facebook didn’t report all required information about how it was continuing to compete with Giphy, the CMA said.

Britain’s competition regulator has fined Facebook 50.5 million pounds ($69.6 million) for breaching an order imposed during an investigation into Facebook’s purchase of GIF platform Giphy, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Facebook had deliberately failed to comply with its order, and the penalty served as a warning that no company was above the law.

Facebook said it strongly disagreed.

The CMA said Facebook had failed to provide full updates about its compliance with requirements to continue to compete with Giphy and not integrate its operations with Giphy’s while its investigation was ongoing.

Facebook had refused to report all the required information, despite multiple warnings, the CMA said, and it therefore considered the failure to comply deliberate.

“We warned Facebook that its refusal to provide us with important information was a breach of the order but, even after losing its appeal in two separate courts, Facebook continued to disregard its legal obligations,” Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said.

“This should serve as a warning to any company that thinks it is above the law.”

Facebook said: “We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best effort compliance approach, which the CMA itself ultimately approved.

“We will review the CMA’s decision and consider our options.”

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Two Facebook whistleblowers have publicly attacked the company this year. Here’s how their claims overlap.

Mark
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Two Facebook whistleblowers, Sophie Zhang and Frances Haugen, have publicly criticised the company in 2021.
  • Zhang told Insider she sees a common link between their criticisms of the company – profit.
  • Both whistleblowers say Facebook under-resources countries it doesn’t consider important.

Facebook has been rocked by a public relations nightmare after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal before appearing in front of Congress to publicly denounce the company.

Haugen isn’t the only Facebook whistleblower to emerge this year. Former data scientist Sophie Zhang went public with her criticism of the company in April 2021. This came after she posted an internal memo in September 2020 after she was fired for “poor performance,” saying she felt like she had blood on her hands.

Haugen worked inside Facebook’s civic integrity team, focusing on elections. Zhang was part of its authenticity team, where she identified networks of fake accounts being created by authoritarian regimes around the world posing as their own citizens.

Speaking to Insider, Zhang said although she and Haugen saw completely different sides of the company, Haugen’s testimony felt familiar.

“There is basically no overlap between any of our details. What overlaps is our overall message,” she said.

Haugen told Congress Facebook routinely places “profit before people” – a claim the company denies.

“I think it’s important to remember that ultimately Facebook is a company whose goal is to make money. We don’t expect Philip Morris Tobacco to have a division that reimburses people and agencies for lung cancer treatment,” Zhang told Insider.

“We have absolutely no commercial incentive, no moral incentive, no company-wide incentive to do anything other than to try to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told Insider.

Facebook whistlebleblower Frances Haugen testifies before Congress
Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen arrives to testify before a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

A linking detail between Haugen and Zhang’s criticisms of Facebook was the allegation that Facebook under-resources its work in countries it doesn’t think will get much attention.

Zhang told The Guardian in April she repeatedly tried to get the company to act against authoritarian governments, which were engineering fake engagement on the platform.

She was successful in some cases, but an interaction with the company’s VP of Integrity Guy Rosen showed Zhang was fighting an uphill battle trying to get the company to act in countries that were either not Western or not the focus of Western media attention. These countries included Russia and Iran, for example.

“I get that the US/Western Europe/etc is important, but for a company with effectively unlimited resources, I don’t understand why this cannot get on the roadmap for anyone,” Zhang told Rosen in private conversation, per The Guardian’s report.

“I wish resources were unlimited,” replied Rosen.

Haugen said during her testimony that Facebook’s moderation of hate speech in non-English speaking countries was severely underresourced, partly because the company does not employ enough native-speakers for the countries in which it operates.

“In the case of Ethiopia, there are 100 million people and six languages. Facebook only supports two of those languages for integrity systems,” Haugen told Congress, adding that Facebook’s lack of action in countries like it is: “literally fanning ethnic violence.”

Insider asked Zhang whether she thinks Facebook ignoring countries is an overarching problem at the company.

“I think there are many overarching problems at the company, this is one of them … What I would call the overarching problem fundamentally is the fact that Facebook is a company whose goal is to make money and therefore has no incentive to fix things and not lose sleep about it unless it affects the company’s ability to make money,” she said.

Facebook’s spokesperson said: “We have invested $13 billion and have 40,000 people working on the safety and security on our platform, including 15,000 people who review content in more than 50 languages working in more than 20 locations all across the world to support our community… Our track record shows that we crack down on abuse outside the US with the same intensity that we apply in the US.”

They added that Ethiopia is a “company priority” and that Facebook has “partnered extensively with international and local experts to better understand and mitigate the biggest risks on the platform.”

Haugen told Congress she wasn’t in favour of breaking up Facebook, and Zhang told Insider she was “neutral” on the issue – but emphasized that she thinks it would negatively impact integrity efforts on Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp.

“I am suggesting some regulation to require companies to work with each other and work on issues that transcend the problems between the companies because they have no incentive to,” said Zhang.

Zhang is due to give testimony to the UK parliament on Monday and said that she gave evidence to a European committee earlier this year. Although she told CNN she is willing to testify before Congress, Zhang told Insider she has not been contacted by US lawmakers.

Haugen is due to appear before Facebook’s independent Oversight Board, and to give evidence to the UK parliament on October 25.

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Facebook is working on AI tech that will monitor your every move

Marck Zuckerberg VR
  • Facebook is working on tech that will monitor human life, the company said in a new blog post.
  • The idea is to build AI that sees the world as humans do, from a first-person perspective.
  • This AI could be used for what Facebook envisions as the future of smartglasses.

Facebook envisions a future where smartglasses “become as useful in everyday life as smartphones,” the company said in a new blog post.

In order to achieve that future, such devices will require powerful AI software that can read and respond to the world around the headset’s user. And the only way to train AI to see and hear the world like humans do is for it to experience the world like we do: from a first-person perspective.

“Next-generation AI will need to learn from videos that show the world from the center of action,” the blog post said.

Facebook’s solution to this problem is a new project, titled, “Ego4D,” which will collate data from “13 universities and labs across nine countries, who collected more than 2,200 hours of first-person video in the wild, featuring over 700 participants going about their daily lives.”

The data will be open to the research community, the blog post said, but the goal of the project is clear: To create the type of AI that can power a slew of Facebook devices currently in the works.

There’s even a Facebook division, known as Reality Labs, that’s focused on research and development for the future of VR and AR tech.

That division is headed by longtime Facebook exec Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who shared images of himself in various prototypes this past week:

The company already makes a very popular virtual reality headset in the Oculus Quest 2, and it has plans to transition from VR to augment reality (AR) in the coming years.

Notably, Facebook currently produces a set of smartglasses in collaboration with Ray Ban, named Ray Ban Stories, and previously deployed a team of staffers to capture data in the world around them using pairs of prototype smartglasses.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Facebook is fighting to keep records of its own investigation into the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar out of court

mark zuckerberg
  • Facebook is appealing a request for internal records linked to a Myanmar genocide case, filings show.
  • It’s the latest development in a legal battle regarding Facebook’s role in genocidal violence.
  • The company said sharing users’ private content would create “grave human rights concerns of its own.”

Facebook on Wednesday challenged part of a judge’s order that would require the tech giant to release internal documents and private user content connected to the genocide of 24,000 Rohingya people in Myanmar.

The company is appealing US Magistrate Zia Faruqi’s September mandate that said Facebook must disclose records from the company’s private investigation into its role in the systematic mass executions of Rohingya civilians by the Myanmar military.

Faruqi’s order also asked Facebook to release content posted by accounts affiliated or suspected of being affiliated with Myanmar officials.

“Locking away the requested content would be throwing away the opportunity to understand how disinformation begat genocide of the Rohingya,” Faruqi wrote in the ruling.

The tech giant argued that disclosing internet users’ private content would violate federal law under the Stored Communications Act, adding that fulfilling such a request would create “grave human rights concerns of its own.”

The appeal specified that Facebook would comply with requests to “produce relevant public information and non-content metadata.”

In a statement to Insider, Rafael Frankel, Facebook’s Director of South and Southeast Asia Policy, said: “We support international efforts to bring accountability for atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingya people. We’ve made voluntary, lawful disclosures to the UN’s Investigative Mechanism for more than a year and we commit to disclosing information to The Gambia to complement that effort. We also support modernizing the SCA and reforms that allow a broader range of disclosures for significant investigations like this, while avoiding a precedent that risks the privacy and human rights of billions of people.”

Facebook’s filing is the latest development in an international legal battle alleging Myanmar officials of genocide against the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority.

Beginning in 2016, the military carried out “clearance operations” of the ethnic group that included the rape, torture, and mass executions of tens of thousands of men, women, and children, court documents say.

Digital hate campaigns against the Rohingya on Facebook led to “communal violence and mob justice,” The Republic of the Gambia claims in the international court filings, as organized groups used “multiple fake accounts and news pages to spread hate speech, fake news, and misinformation for political gain.”

Facebook itself admitted that it was “too slow to respond to the concerns raised” regarding the violence, and said it will cooperate with Faruqi’s directive to provide public information on “hundreds of accounts, groups, and pages removed from its platform.”

Facebook called the order “sweeping and unprecedented,” and said it would leave “internet users’ private content unprotected and thereby susceptible to disclosure – at a provider’s whim – to private litigants, foreign governments, law enforcement, or anyone else.”

Whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Sophie Zhang have raised concerns over Facebook’s international security issues.

“Facebook’s consistent understaffing of the counterespionage, information operations, and counterterrorism teams is a national security issue,” Haugen said in a testimony to lawmakers earlier this month. “I have strong national security concerns about how Facebook operates today.”

Zhang, who was fired from Facebook last year, posted a 7,800-word memo detailing how she believed the company allowed authoritarian regimes around the world to manipulate its platform.

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‘The most powerful person who’s ever walked the face of the earth’: How Mark Zuckerberg’s stranglehold on Facebook could put the company at risk

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has 55% of the company’s voting shares, giving him majority power.
  • Experts say it’s “a bad idea” for one person to hold so much control of a behemoth like Facebook.
  • The notion is more profound given leaked docs that show Facebook’s dismissal of its societal harm.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds 55% of voting shares in the company, former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen brought up in front of Congress last week.

That’s significant, according to her, because it’s “a very unique role in the tech industry. She said “there are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled.” Or put more bluntly in another part of the hearing: “There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself.”

He is, essentially, Facebook’s “key man,” a person who has ultimate say in business decisions and without whom the firm would be heavily impacted.

Experts told Insider that there is cause for concern around one person having control over a controversial family of platforms that affect hundreds of millions of people.

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue that Mark Zuckerberg is the most powerful person who’s ever walked the face of the earth, and I think that kind of power being held by one person is generally a bad idea,” Whitney Tilson, a former hedge fund manager and CEO of Empire Financial Research, told Insider.

Zuckerberg’s outsized power has been debated for years

Company founders with majority control of a firm aren’t rare. It’s most prevalent in the tech world, where dual-class structures are common. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, for example, stepped away from the giant in 2019 but remained on the board and collectively still have majority control of the company.

“You typically don’t have companies like GM or Ford or Bank of America that are controlled by any one investor,” Chris Haynes, an associate professor of international affairs and political science at the University of New Haven, told Insider. “This is not the norm.”

Proponents of the arrangement often say it allows company leaders to stay trained on long-term success without distractions from short-term pressures.

“Having a company controlled by a single person, ‘the brainchild’ when it comes to tech companies, it does make the company much more nimble, and they’re able to really turn a dime,” Haynes said, since they don’t have to get a lot of investors on board to make a decision.

But it can also slow things down. Facebook lists Zuckerberg’s outsize control as a potential risk factor for investors, saying it “could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support.”

Critics say the control can shield companies from concerns that can harm society and investors, and it can cause volatility.

“I think you’re seeing that in the case of Facebook,” Haynes said.

Facebook has had a rocky few weeks after documents leaked by Haugen to the Wall Street Journal showed Zuckerberg and other insiders knew the company’s platforms had negative effects on the public and dismissed those concerns.

“Facebook is bigger than any religion in the history of the world, and there is 100% control residing in one man,” Tilson said.

Joy Poole, a former Facebook employee who’s now at the consulting firm Emergence, told Insider that lawmakers should “absolutely” explore how regulation could decide the amount of majority share CEOs have in their companies. But there may be more pressing issues.

“Mark Zuckerberg has majority control over a company with a tremendous amount of influence in the world,” Poole said. “I don’t believe for a minute though, that if he had 49% control, that we would magically find answers to the complex questions we are facing here.”

However, last week’s hearing with Haugen and her disclosure of internal documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission could change things, Tilson said, though it’s not likely.

If the SEC investigation finds that Facebook misled investors by failing to disclose research of negative harm on teens, among other findings, then the agency could demand that he step down, according to Tilson.

“That would be the only way I can think of that would overcome his controlling voting shares,” he said.

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‘SNL’ sketch on Facebook whistleblower hearing pokes fun at US senators’ disconnect with social media

snl facebook whistleblower
SNL’s Heidi Gardner portrayed Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen on Oct. 9 show

  • “Saturday Night Live” opened its show mocking the Facebook whistleblower hearing in DC this week.
  • Cast members portrayed former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and various US senators.
  • Haugen testified at a hearing this week criticizing Facebook’s negative impacts on society.

“Saturday Night Live” proves once again that Silicon Valley drama isn’t off-limits to the show’s satirical bite.

The late night variety show began its October 9 episode, hosted by Kim Kardashian West, with its a C-SPAN cold open covering this week’s Senate hearings from a Facebook whistleblower.

Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen, played by SNL’s Heidi Gardner, responded to questions from a panel of senators, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Mikey Day), Sen. Diane Feinstein (Cecily Strong), Sen. John Kennedy (Kyle Mooney), and Sen. Ted Cruz (Aidy Bryant).

Cecily’s Feinstein kicked-off the proceedings, praising Gardner’s Haugen for her decision to come forward with Facebook allegations, before undermining it and citing”higher-priority” issues, like passing an infrastructure bill, raising the debt ceiling, and prosecuting the January 6 rioters.

“As a former Facebook engineer, I’m here today because I have seen firsthand how Facebook products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy,” Gardner’s Haugen said in a serious tone.

The various senators followed with a slew of random social media questions, alluding to the senators’ generational disconnect when it comes to technology. Cecily’s Feinstein asked if “2,000 Facebook friends” was “a lot,” while Mooney’s Kennedy mistook an algorithm for a tangible object, asking “how big is this ‘algorithm?”

Bryant’s Cruz also chimed-in to parallel bullying toward teens widespread criticism of the senator online, claiming that hypothetical Facebook groups like “Ted Cruz Sucks” should be flagged misinformation.

“Ted Cruz sucks’ isn’t really misinformation,” Gardner’s Haugen replied. “It’s just one person’s opinion.”

The real Frances Haugen testified at a Senate hearing this week after revealing herself publicly as the Facebook whistleblower who leaked a trove of internal documents and research to the Wall Street Journal. The documents highlighted the tech company’s controversial practices, including its prioritization of profits over managing misinformation, extremism, and division.

The skit also made references to the highly popular Netflix show, “Squid Game”, and various online memes, further emphasizing the joke about the senators’ pop culture and social media ignorance.

The cold open ended with a short-lived appearance by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, played by SNL’s Alex Moffat, before cutting to MySpace cofounder, Tom Anderson, who Mikey Day’s Blumenthal called the “OG social media king.” In real-life, Mark Zuckerberg responded to Haugen’s claims in a 1,300-word statement, saying they “don’t make any sense.”

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Snapchat and Telegram usage spiked while Facebook was down

social media apps
  • Snapchat users spent 23% more time on the app while Facebook was down on Monday, Bloomberg reported.
  • Telegram’s CEO said the app gained 70 million new users during the outage that also took WhatsApp offline.
  • Facebook was down for over 6 hours on Monday after a network configuration change.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Social media users flocked to other apps during Facebook’s six-hour outage on Monday.

Snapchat users on Android devices spent about 23% more time on the app on Monday compared with the same day the week before, according to Sensor Tower data shared with Bloomberg. And Telegram, an encrypted messaging app similar to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, gained 70 million new users during the outage, according to the platform’s CEO Pavel Durov.

Snapchat took the top ranking of teens’ favorite social media apps according to Piper Sandler’s “Taking Stock With Teens” survey. Of the 10,000 teens surveyed, 35% of teens named Snapchat as their favorite social media app, followed by TikTok at 30% and Instagram at 22%. However, Instagram is still the social media app most used by teens, with 81% of respondents saying they use the app at all. Snapchat clocked in slightly lower, with 77% saying they use it.

Telegram has about 500 million monthly active users, meaning the number of signups on Monday was equal to about 10% of the app’s existing user base, The Verge reported. The last time Telegram had a similar surge was in January, when Facebook reported problems with WhatsApp, according to the publication.

“The daily growth rate of Telegram exceeded the norm by an order of magnitude, and we welcomed over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day,” Durov wrote in a message on Telegram on Monday. He said that the app’s newest users from the US might have experienced some delays on the platform due to the sudden influx of downloaders.

Durov added, “We won’t fail you when others will,” an apparent nod to Facebook’s technical troubles that day.

Facebook’s suite of apps and services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facebook itself, went offline for hours on Monday. In a blog post, the company explained the outage was caused by a “faulty configuration change” to its “backbone routers.”

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