Week 5, 2022

This week the major spot in the tech space was taken by Facebook for the drop in daily active users and biggest ever stock market loss. Spotify continues to be in trouble because of Joe Rogan’s controversial podcasts on COVID vaccination. The news Wordle sold to the New York Times disappointed its fans playing it for free. India’s Finance Minister announced a new digital currency and taxation on crypto assets, resting fall concerns for now regarding the ban of the currencies.

Facebook: Will Metaverse help regain its strong positioning?

The technology giant Meta Platforms Inc. reported financial results for the quarter and full-year ended December 31, 2021. For the first time, the company revealed that Facebook’s daily active users fell to 1.929bn in the three months to the end of December, compared to 1.930bn in the previous quarter. Its shares crashed 25 percent on February 3, losing more than $200 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost $29 billion.

Several reasons are cited for the loss – primarily the failure of this largest social media network to keep its young users engaged and losing them to its competitors like Tik-Tok. People have more choices now, and users prefer vertical video content. Facebook’s Reel is yet to compete in that space. Then there are concerns over Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) features enabling iPhone users to choose which apps can track their behavior across other apps. This is also impacting Facebook’s ad revenue.

As per Meta’s Press Release, it expects first-quarter 2022 total revenue to be in the range of $27-29 billion, which represents 3-11% year-over-year growth.

We expect our year-over-year growth in the first quarter to be impacted by headwinds to both impression and price growth.

On the impressions side, we expect continued headwinds from both increased competition for people’s time and a shift of engagement within our apps towards video surfaces like Reels, which monetize at lower rates than Feed and Stories.

On the pricing side, we expect growth to be negatively impacted by a few factors:
o First, we will lap a period in which Apple’s iOS changes were not in effect and we anticipate modestly increasing ad targeting and measurement headwinds from platform and regulatory changes.
o Second, we will lap a period of strong demand in the prior year and we’re hearing from advertisers that macroeconomic challenges like cost inflation and supply chain disruptions are impacting advertiser budgets.
o Finally, based on current exchange rates, we expect foreign currency to be a headwind to year-over-year growth.

All eyes are now on Facebook’s Metaverse strategy. That might be a game-changer for the social media network.

Spotify – continues to be on the spot

Spotify continued to hit the headlines since the controversial podcast host Joe Rogan accused medical professionals of spreading Covid misinformation. This week CEO Daniel Ek has been reported as saying the streaming service doesn’t closely supervise controversial podcast host Joe Rogan because the company sees itself as a platform to distribute Rogan’s show rather than as Rogan’s publisher.

The reports add:

Spotify doesn’t approve Rogan’s guest list, they don’t look at his content until it goes up, and so they don’t have editing power…They just look at it after it’s already on the platform and remove it if it doesn’t meet guidelines.

Following these developments, Joni Mitchell has asked Spotify to remove her music. Media reports suggested that 270 scientists and medical professionals issued an open letter to Spotify earlier this month, urging it to establish a misinformation policy after an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.

Amid all the controversies, the company reported strong performance overall in the fourth quarter of 2021, with total monthly active users rising 18% to a record 406 million. Quarterly revenue rose to €2.69 billion for the quarter from 2.17 billion a year earlier, and above the €2.65 billion expected by analysts. It also said revenue from advertisements had reached a record 15% of total revenue.

30% tax on the crypto-asset transfer, a new digital currency

Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman the fiscal year 2022-23 early this week. The announcement included some exciting news for crypto enthusiasts. A new digital rupee powered by blockchain technology will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India starting 2022-23. The Minister also said that the income from the transfer of digital assets would be taxed at a 30 percent rate. This will impact gains from cryptocurrency and NFTs as well. There will be no deduction regarding any expenditure or allowance shall be allowed while computing such income except the acquisition cost. Further, loss from the transfer of virtual digital assets cannot be set off against any other income.

To capture the transaction details, the government has also provided for TDS on payment made in relation to the transfer of virtual digital assets at the rate of 1 percent of such consideration above a monetary threshold. Gifting of a virtual digital asset is also proposed to be taxed in the hands of the recipient.

Wordle joins NY Times Games; fans can continue to use it for free

Early this week, the New York Times has announced that it bought Wordle, Josh Wardle’s exciting and wildly popular daily word game. In the note, it mentions:

As The Times looks to entertain more solvers with puzzles every day — especially during these anxious times — we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve acquired Wordle, the stimulating and wildly popular daily word game that has become a cultural phenomenon. Wordle, which gives players six tries to guess a five-letter mystery word, will join New York Times Games’s portfolio of original, engaging puzzle games that delight and challenge solvers every day.

The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world. New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy. Our games already provide original, high-quality content and experiences every single day. Wordle will now play a part in that daily experience, giving millions more people around the world another reason to turn to The Times to meet their daily news and life needs.

This acquisition brought a lot of concerns among its users. The Internet was flooded with posts on how to keep access. Media reports suggest that it has been revealed the code that powers the website of the viral puzzle game Wordle can be copied and saved to continue playing it for the next seven years.

YouTube’s video player to get a new look on Android and iOS

YouTube, Google’s video streaming site, is releasing a new full-screen player for its Android and iOS mobile apps. Thanks to the redesigned UI, users can now Like, Dislike, Comment, and Share videos with ease. The new interface places buttons for all of these options directly on the video, so users don’t have to swipe up or close the full-screen window to share, like, or dislike a video. Users will only notice the new update if they watch a movie in full-screen mode.


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