Meta’s attempt at wooing community: Four recent initiatives that might help

Will Meta’s recent announcements be able to woo communities, especially after the company reports on the decline in daily active users?

Meta’s mission statement says – Originally founded in 2004 as Facebook, Meta’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Our products empower more than 3 billion people around the world to share ideas, offer support and make a difference.

Of late, Meta has been in controversies – from individual privacy to misinformation surrounding the 2016 US Presidential election. The Cambridge Analytica scandal incited genocide against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar by military officials. The list can go on and on.

In early February, Meta reported financial results for the quarter and full-year ended December 31, 2021. For the first time, 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.

Over the last couple of months, Meta has announced several initiatives to get closer to communities. Probably trying to undo the reputation damage it has done over a while? Will it help the company?

1. Being mindful about inclusiveness: Generating Biographies of Marginalized Groups

Meta has announced recently that its research scientist Angela Fan is using AI to create more inclusive Wikipedia-style biographies about marginalized groups. The AI model searches websites for relevant information and drafts a Wikipedia-style entry about that person.

The blog further says that Wikipedia is often the first stop for information about historical figures and changemakers. But not everyone is equally represented on Wikipedia. Only about 20% of biographies on the English site are about women. The percentage is even smaller for women from intersectional groups, such as women from Africa or Asia and women who work in science.

Angela is open-sourcing an end-to-end AI model that automatically creates high-quality biographical articles about important real-world public figures. The model searches websites for relevant information and drafts a Wikipedia-style entry about that person, complete with citations. 

2. Philippines Election 2022: Time to show some proactiveness?

Allegations on Facebook regarding political advertising and the 2016 US presidential election are much known. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even posted an apology and plans to improve.

Nonetheless, as the Philippines is getting ready for the election, Meta has announced it has built new products and developed more robust policies in collaboration with the Commission on Elections, election watchdogs, independent fact-checkers, and civil society organizations.

Moreover, the Company says that its efforts will help detect and remove harmful content and networks. It is also activating an Elections Operations Center to detect and respond quickly to any abuse of its services related to the election.

Media reported today that the Meta Platforms suspended a network of over 400 accounts, pages, and groups ahead of general elections in the Philippines as the Facebook parent moves to crack down on hate speech and misinformation.

The accounts included Facebook Pages and groups linked to the Philippines’ New People’s Army, a banned organisation.

Data published in Meta’s advertising resources indicates that Facebook had 83.85 million users in the Philippines in early 2022. The Philippines’s total population was 111.8 million in January 2022.

3. Engaging the youth: Investing in Metaverse may the right way forward.

It is a known fact that the decline in the number of active users on Facebook is due to the absence of millennials and Gen Z on the platform. This is why Mark Zuckerberg announced Metaverse last year- a way to save the platform and make it more engaging for the younger generation.

Meta has recently announced the creation of a new engineering hub in Canada based in Toronto, alongside increased hiring across Canada. Additionally, the company mentions in its blog that this would create up to 2,500 new jobs over the next several years. Recruiting is already underway. Most roles are engineering-focused and expected to span across building vast reality experiences and Meta technologies.

Image of woman in living room wearing Oculus headset with joy sticks.
Pic Credit: Meta

The term ‘Metaverse’ gained widespread awareness when Facebook announced it was renaming its portfolio of companies’ Meta.’ The objective was to align its businesses with its ambition to build the Metaverse. Soon after, it has caught the public’s attention. To know more about why investing in Metaverse is important, click here.

4. Supporting Ukrainians with information and funding

Like most Tech companies, Meta has been at the forefront, helping people with updates and offer support. It has also introduced a new emergency relief feature set. It makes it easier for the communities to turn on features that empower members to come together and take action. Admins will be able to give their group access to anonymous posts, guides, files, Q&As, and events. It will also offer assistance or request help through Community help and raise money through nonprofit fundraisers.

Meta mentions that $40 million raised across Instagram and Facebook for nonprofits supporting humanitarian relief in Ukraine.


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