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Instagram Head Responds to Criticism Over TikTok-Style Redesign, Zuckerberg Urges Staff to Increase ‘Intensity’

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Instagram head Adam Mosseri on Tuesday responded to criticism of the platform’s new TikTok-style design for videos, saying that the layout was “not yet good,” and the company would have to “get it to a good place if we’re going to ship it” to all Instagram users. The image and video sharing service, which has been testing TikTok-like features, last week postponed plans to replace the app’s scrolling feed with a more immersive “panavision”-style layout that fills the entire screen, from October to early next year. 

A Meta spokesperson said the company recognises “that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and we want to take the time to make sure we get this right.”  

???????? There’s a lot happening on Instagram right now.

I wanted to address a few things we’re working on to make Instagram a better experience.

Please let me know what you think ???????? pic.twitter.com/x1If5qrCyS

— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) July 26, 2022

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On Monday, two of Instagram’s biggest users, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, both shared a meme imploring the company to “Make Instagram Instagram again.”  

“Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends,” the post said. It signed off: “Sincerely, everyone.”  

The company would continue doing tests and shifting toward video however, he added.

Parent company Meta’s future may lie in the metaverse, but when the company reports results on Wednesday, investors will be focused on two more immediate bets: pumping up short-video offering Reels to compete with TikTok and rebuilding its ads system after Apple throttled access to user data.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg believes that will take time, and that the company needs to speed up the process, he told staffers on a call late last month. The discussion hit on key issues that will be watched in Meta’s quarterly results release on Wednesday.

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Meta is expected to record its first-ever revenue drop in its history as a public company, down 0.4 percent to about $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,31,630 crore), according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Investors are also bracing for flat user growth and a third consecutive quarter of profit declines and are watching for signs of hardware project cuts and slower hiring to manage costs.

The social media giant this year has unveiled sweeping redesigns of Facebook and Instagram, imitating rival TikTok’s look and algorithmically driven recommendations of viral short videos.

Meta is also investing heavily to rebuild its ads system around its own user data, after privacy changes introduced last year by Apple degraded Meta’s ad targeting capabilities.

Zuckerberg told employees on the call, which took place on June 30, that Reels represented a “huge opportunity” for Meta, but also noted that the format was “still only around 15 percent of the size of TikTok.”

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“I think realistically we’re looking at a year and a half, maybe even longer, before we’ll really have a line of sight to having a strong leadership position,” he said.

The timeline for rebuilding the ads system was similar, he said. He repeatedly urged staff to increase their “intensity” to get through the period.

While Meta has the strongest first-party user data in the industry, it also “has a lot of credibility to restore before investors can get comfortable with maintaining its leadership position in digital advertising’s secular growth,” analysts from RBC Capital Markets wrote.

Zuckerberg told employees that the economy had worsened since executives first planned the Reels and ad changes, and outlined plans to expedite the transitions so profits from the core business could fund Meta’s long-term metaverse bets.

“Our job is basically to bring in as much of the business that might be three years out into two years out, or one and a half years out, while also pushing on things like expenses and cost growth,” he said.

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If needed, he added, his inclination was to “take more pain in terms of a little bit less profitability” in the short term, rather than cutting back on “funding for future stuff.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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Elon Musk’s Twitter Deposition Rescheduled for October 6-7, 10 Days Ahead of the Trail

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Elon Musk’s deposition by Twitter lawyers has been rescheduled from this week to October 6-7, just 10 days before a trial over his bid to walk away from the $44 billion (nearly Rs. 3,59,600 crore) takeover, and the delay could play in the social network company’s favour.

The deposition of the world’s richest person was originally scheduled for this week but sources close to the litigation on Monday said that the timing of the interview was always subject to change given the fast-tracked nature of the litigation.

The two sides are conducting dozens of depositions and reviewing thousands of documents and communications in preparation for the five-day trial starting October 17 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School, said that the timing of depositions matter, and Twitter might be better off delaying the interview of Musk until after they have obtained his communications.

“You’re gonna delay your best witnesses for the end, as much as possible, so you have all the discovery,” Quinn said.

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Later on Tuesday, Twitter will ask Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick to punish Musk, who is chief executive of automotive company Tesla, for his legal team’s alleged disregard of court orders to turn over Musk’s messages about his decision to end the deal.

Musk’s response to Twitter’s motion was filed under seal. His lawyers have said in the past that the social media company was accusing Musk of withholding documents and messages to distract the court from the company’s own discovery abuses.

Musk’s deposition is expected to be a key part of the litigation. In past testimony, he has been combative under oath.

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Twitter’s attorneys are expected to try to show that Musk abandoned the deal due to falling financial markets.

Twitter wants McCormick to order Musk to close the deal at the agreed price of $54.20 (nearly Rs. 4,400) per share. The billionaire is seeking a ruling that Twitter violated the deal agreement by withholding critical information about users, allowing Musk to walk away without penalty.

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Elon Musk’s Lawyers to Argue With Twitter Attorneys Over Information Exchange

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A Delaware judge is hearing arguments over the exchange of information by lawyers for Twitter and Elon Musk in a lawsuit in which the social media giant is seeking to force Musk to carry through with his $44 billion (nearly Rs. 3,59,600 crore) acquisition of Twitter.

Tuesday’s hearing comes three weeks before a scheduled trial in the lawsuit.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 (nearly Rs. 4400) a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. In July, Musk indicated that he wanted to back away from the deal, claiming that Twitter had failed to provide him enough information about the number of fake accounts on its platform.

The hearing will begin with arguments on a motion by Musk’s attorneys to revise their answer to the lawsuit and their counterclaims against Twitter for the second time. Musk’s attorneys want to add information regarding a severance agreement and $7.75 million (nearly Rs. 63 crore) payment to former employee Peiter “Mudge” Zatko. Musk’s attorneys assert that Twitter needed his consent before making the payment but failed to do so.

Zatko is a cybersecurity expert who was the head of security for Twitter until he was fired early this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in July with Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaint outlines a host of accusations against Twitter, including that CEO Parag Agrawal and other senior executives and board members have made false and misleading statements about Twitter’s cybersecurity, privacy and integrity.

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Twitter attorneys argue that the inclusion of information about Zatko’s severance should be conditioned on Musk attorneys turning over records of all communications since December among Musk, his advisers and co-investors that involve Zatko.

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The judge will also hear arguments on several other disputes regarding discovery, or the exchange of information, between attorneys for Musk and Twitter. They include efforts by Musk lawyers to obtain more data from a sampling of about 9,000 Twitter accounts in the fourth quarter of 2021, and claims that Twitter is withholding too much information as “privileged,” or confidential. Musk attorneys also claim that Twitter is improperly withholding information regarding user metrics.

Attorneys for Twitter, meanwhile, are asking the judge to sanction Musk attorneys for failing to produce responsive phone messages, and to order them to comply with a previous discovery order.


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Facebook, Instagram Integration Improved With Deeper Account Centre Integration by Meta

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Facebook and Instagram are set to offer better integration as parent company Meta announced it is testing a deeper integration across both platforms. The firm has revealed two updates that include a new user interface for the Accounts Center feature across mobile and Web platforms, and a redesigned login and onboarding experience on its mobile apps. The tests include two new features that are intended to make it easier for users to switch between and create new accounts and profiles on Facebook and Instagram. The company is also testing allowing users to receive notifications for both Facebook and Instagram profiles in the same place.

In an announcement on its blog, Meta revealed that the new interface is currently in testing and allows existing users who have added their Instagram and Facebook credentials to the same Account Center, to switch between the two apps without navigating to their phone’s home screen, multitasking menu, or app drawer. Meanwhile, a redesigned mobile login and onboarding experience being tested allows iOS and Android users to sign in or create multiple accounts from a single Instagram or Facebook credential.

Meta also confirmed that existing security features will continue to apply to the updates that include blocking unrecognized devices from using interoperating login credentials for Instagram and Facebook accounts that have the two-factor authentication feature turned on for either of the accounts.

Users will also be notified of any account activity across Facebook and Instagram accounts on a single Accounts Center section including the creation of a newly linked Facebook or Instagram account, according to the company.

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Meta says it is now testing the new user interface on iOS, Android, and the Web while the login and onboarding workflow redesign is being tested on iOS and Android. The company adds that both features are being tested across the globe. The new features are “currently limited to Facebook and Instagram,” Meta said.

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The updates have arrived post the introduction of Meta accounts in August of this year and a recently reported downturn in both revenue and user growth for the American social-media giant.


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