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Facebook and Apple are at war, with the biggest battle still on the horizon – MarketWatch

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Apple Inc. debuted a national advertising campaign on data privacy last week, a day after Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. shared a quarterly update on how it has ratcheted up security for its members.
Admittedly, not headline-screaming stuff for two companies that relentlessly discuss privacy and security. But there is an underlying message to the two companies’ dueling news: Each is escalating rhetoric in a yearslong feud with each other over how they handle data for billions of people. The acrimony is sure to spiral in the coming months and years, as they pursue the metaverse and augmented reality, tech observers told MarketWatch.
Apple AAPL, +4.08% and Facebook FB, +1.83% have adopted polar opposite business models. Meta relies almost entirely on selling targeted ads based on a tranche of data supplied by its more than 3 billion members who joined Facebook for free. Apple, conversely, charges large premiums on its devices and offers services that are largely devoid of ads. While Facebook thrives, and suffers, from endless user-generated content with spotty moderation, Apple maintains an iron grip on what gets into its ecosystem. This allows the iPhone maker to command a steep percentage of any money that flows to the developers it allows inside the App Store.
“Facebook sees the metaverse as an opportunity to escape Apple’s walled garden (proprietary ecosystem) and create its own platform free of the App Store,” Mike Herrick, senior vice president of technology at app-experience platform Airship, told MarketWatch.
The message is inescapable in Silicon Valley. On highway U.S. 101, near Palo Alto, Calif., two billboards within 100 feet summarize the antagonisms: One positions iPhone as the privacy-first phone, the other from Meta preaches the benefits of end-to-end encryption.
The companies’ two chief executives, Apple’s Tim Cook and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, have lambasted one another repeatedly in recent years in the run-up to competing augmented-reality headsets expected in the next year, with last week’s moves the latest incident.
Apple’s 90-second “Your Data Is Being $old” TV spot, which debuted May 18, disparages data brokers hellbent on auctioning the most confidential information of consumers, but it could also apply to Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google GOOGL, +4.20% GOOG, +4.16%, both of whom depend heavily on collecting personalized data to sell targeted advertising.
“The part that says it all [in the ad] is where the data broker says, ‘It’s not creepy, it’s commerce,”’ Mike Herrick, senior vice president of technology at app-experience platform Airship, told MarketWatch.
And as both companies vie for dominance in the emerging, data-rich metaverse, he expects more of the same messaging.
“Everybody needs a phone, and data security remains an important factor,” Herrick said.
“Data is not confined to one boundary,” adds Balaji Ganesan, CEO of Privacera. ”Data is like ink on water. It spreads. It is not something you can easily contain.”
The introduction of the ad campaign came a day after Meta’s latest quarterly integrity report, a status report on its efforts to moderate content that revealed some serious kinks in the management of mountains of data. While Facebook continues to make inroads, it did disclose a “bug” in its media-matching technology that led to legitimate content mistakenly flagged as terrorism and organized hate and being pulled in the first three months of this year. Meta said it resolved the issue and restored the posts.
One issue that seemingly has not been resolved is Facebook’s inability to remove terrorism content before it goes viral. A live-streamed video posted on Twitch from the white gunman accused of killing 10 Black people in a Buffalo grocery store spread on Facebook and Twitter Inc. TWTR, +1.64% for days after the tragedy. One copy on Facebook was shared more than 46,000 times for more than 10 hours before Facebook removed it, according to The Washington Post.
Meta’s muff underscores the pitfalls of monitoring data in the information age, a danger that Apple has exploited to its marketing and business advantage. Channeling the words of company co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple in recent years has made privacy a defining fulcrum of its DNA while at the same time wielding it like a marketing weapon in blistering attacks on what CEO Tim Cook calls a “data industrial complex” that includes Facebook and Google.  
Both of those companies derive a lion’s share of their revenue via advertising, prompting Apple to adopt a feature, App Tracking Transparency (ATT), that lets consumers easily stop any app or service from building a significant data profile based on the user’s device and web usage. ATT could cost Meta approximately $10 billion this year, Meta Chief Financial Officer David Wehner revealed earlier this year during an earnings conference call.
Apple’s defensive posture is based on its full-throated embrace of a walled garden, Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon, senior privacy counsel and legal engineer at Immuta, told MarketWatch.
“Privacy has already been used as means to strengthen closed ecosystems that enable tech providers to have control over entire data flows and then easily re-use this data,” she said. “In other words, tech companies have used this means to justify not sharing data with smaller businesses reliant upon their services to grow, such as advertisers.“
See also: Apple has spent decades building its walled garden. It may be starting to crack
The privacy showdown between Apple and Meta, simmering for years, is set to boil into full-blown conflagration as each aggressively pursue potential riches in the metaverse, a utopian ideal of the internet becoming a 3-D virtual space into which users can be immersed using a virtual-reality headset, smart glasses or their phone. Apple and Meta are racing to develop hardware and software to create virtual avatars, requiring even more artificial intelligence and data to create “walled gardens.”
In coming months Meta is expected to unfurl a mixed-reality headset, code-named Project Cambria, similar to one being developed by Apple. Meta’s device will cost more than $800, the company said.
“Facebook will move into devices for [virtual reality] where they’re collecting data directly,” Vasant Dhar, a professor at the Stern School of Business and the Center for Data Science at New York University, told MarketWatch.
Apple’s forthcoming rumored headset could cost as much as $2,000, according to reports. Apple’s board has seen the headset, often the final step before a product is shown to the public, according to a Bloomberg News report. The same report said an operating system for the device is also nearing a debut as Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference approaches in June.
The imminent release of its AR headset and operating system precedes what Apple does best: Defining a market through advertising and messaging.
”Apple recognizes there is a market for privacy, and consumers’ growing concern,” Steve Wicker, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Cornell University, told MarketWatch. “Facebook represents the free-for-all mentality.”
Ambuj Kumar, CEO of Fortanix Inc., explains. “For all its might, Meta is dependent on encryption capabilities provided by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS,” he told MarketWatch. “This will change when Meta has its own virtual reality hardware, but today it has to differentiate at an application level.”
The metaverse, in turn, presents new and specific privacy and security concerns for consumers. A recent NordVPN survey of internet users found that half are worried about user identity issues, 47% are concerned about the forced surveillance that users might have to go through, and 45% are worried about the potential abuse of personal information.
“While the metaverse concept might sound exciting for hardcore tech fans, we also have to take into account Facebook privacy issues,” NordVPN said in a blog post.
“AR and VR tech collects biometric data. So the question is, who are we choosing to share that data with? If my data is going to Apple, I would be confident that it would only be collected and used based on my consent,” Chris Bowen, chief information security officer at ClearData, told MarketWatch. “From a high level, the best first step in protecting your own privacy is to consider the source and determine if you trust it enough with some of your most personal information.”
Google, meanwhile, is somewhere in the middle of the privacy debate as it navigates fines in Europe and a new Senate bill on digital advertising that targets the search giant. As is its corporate approach, it has largely played possum on the topic and had no comment.
It may not have a choice in the near future with Apple and Meta, among others, jockeying for position on data, privacy and the metaverse. Legislators have already taken note.
“Regulations like [Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation] and [California Consumer Privacy Act] have created a strong secular trend across the board,” Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure Data at Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +2.76%, told MarketWatch. “There is a respect for data, and companies need to make sure customers have a system in place to do that.”
Stocks have been inching back in recent days from the brink of bear market territory. It may be time to scoop up shares at steep discounts.
Jon Swartz is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco, covering many of the biggest players in tech, including Netflix, Facebook and Google. Jon has covered technology for more than 20 years, and previously worked for Barron’s and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @jswartz.
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Lamina1 Presents Inaugural “Open Metaverse Conference” Connecting the Worlds of Blockchain and the Metaverse for a Next-Gen Internet – Business Wire

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Featuring a keynote from co-founder and futurist Neal Stephenson, the first-of-its-kind event aims to empower creators and coders to build the Open Metaverse together
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lamina1, a Layer 1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse, today announced its role as founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, a first-of-its-kind industry event bringing together the worlds of the Metaverse and Web3 to build a more open and immersive Internet. The two-day conference will take place from February 8-9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California, and will gather experts and builders spanning Metaverse experiences, Web3, and entertainment.

Co-founded by Neal Stephenson, renowned futurist and science fiction author who originally coined the term “Metaverse,” and cryptocurrency pioneer Peter Vessenes, founder of the first VC-backed Bitcoin company, Lamina1 will provide the infrastructure to empower rapid expansion of the Open Metaverse. As the founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, Lamina1 will provide a forum for critical conversations around identity, privacy and interoperability, while exploring how audience engagement, creative storytelling, and the technicalities of blockchain can work hand-in-hand to make the vision of the Open Metaverse a reality.
The Open Metaverse Conference will feature keynotes from renowned technologists and storytellers who are pioneering visions for the next era of the Internet. Attendees will hear from Lamina1 co-founders Neal Stephenson and Peter Vessenes, as well as Philip Rosedale, founder of virtual world Second Life (Linden Lab) and co-founder of virtual platform High Fidelity, John Gaeta, Oscar-winning VFX pioneer (The Matrix) and CCO of character persona company Inworld AI, Cathy Hackl, Metaverse and Web3 strategist and founder of design consultancy Journey, and other industry crossover leaders to be announced. Keynote sessions will be complemented by diverse speakers and side events spanning games, art, entertainment, and commerce. To connect these key areas of culture with the technology that enables them, the Open Metaverse Conference will also facilitate technological deep dives for attendees from leaders in Web3, immersive computing, and technology standards groups. Presenting partners include the Metaverse Standards Forum, the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group, and the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 (OMA3), all organizations fostering interoperability.
“We are at a moment in time when developers, creatives, and producers can finally design the seamless and persistent experiences we’ve dreamed about,” said Jamil Moledina, Vice President of Games Partnerships and Media at Lamina1. “The Open Metaverse Conference will serve as the big tent for everyone who’s thinking about creating never-before-possible experiences that allow creators and consumers to enter unique virtual worlds on a level playing field.”
“OMA3 is pleased to collaborate with Lamina1 and the Open Metaverse Conference in promoting interoperability,” said Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands. “OMA3 looks forward to developing talk tracks to encourage the creation of a more open and immersive internet.”
The conference will encourage interdisciplinary dialogue through debates, pitch sessions, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities to help drive new ideas and connections.
“We felt a real sense of urgency to facilitate discussion with our colleagues and creators across the spectrum,” said Rebecca Barkin, President of Lamina1. “We know that the Open Metaverse will be built collaboratively and with a set of shared values, and we’re happy to provide this forum to address the needs of the community and to solve big problems together.”
For more information on the Open Metaverse Conference, visit www.openmetaverseconf.com.
About Open Metaverse Conference 
The Open Metaverse Conference (OMC) is an industry-first event presented by Lamina1 focused on bringing together the Metaverse and blockchain technology. The conference gathers key stakeholders spanning developers, creatives, producers, product owners, and executives to ask and address big questions around the development of a truly Open Metaverse that leverages open-source, collaborative principles and blockchain decentralization.
About Lamina1 
Lamina1 is a Layer1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse. The brainchild of legendary futurist Neal Stephenson (who first conceptualized the term “Metaverse” in his 1992 best-selling novel Snow Crash) and Peter Vessenes, a foundational leader in the crypto space from the early days of Bitcoin – Lamina1 is on a mission to deliver the blockchain technology, interoperating tools, and decentralized services that will establish it as the preferred destination for creators building a more immersive Internet. It is the first provably carbon-negative blockchain in the world.
K.C. Maas
Wachsman
kc.maas@wachsman.com
K.C. Maas
Wachsman
kc.maas@wachsman.com

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Facebook Founder, Zuckerberg Drops Out Of 10 Richest Men After Losing Half Of Fortunes – SaharaReporters.com

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According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
 
Meta chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg has lost his spot in the list as one of the 10 richest people in America.
According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
Zuck trails Walmart heir Jim Walton, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and other tech moguls such as ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. No one in America has lost as much money over the past year as Zuckerberg.
He has the cratering stock price of Meta (formerly Facebook) to thank for his exit from the top 10. Shares have plunged 57% since last year’s Forbes 400, which used stock prices from September 3, 2021. Tech stocks are generally in a slump with the market downturn, but Meta’s fall outpaces both the Nasdaq (-9.8%) and the S&P 500 (-13.5%), as well as Microsoft’s 14% decline, Google-parent Alphabet‘s 25% drop and Amazon’s 27% dive.
Investors are spooked by a privacy policy update from Apple last year that made it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, impacting Meta’s ad sales. Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in July–a 1% drop, to $28.8 billion.
“Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, and now it just doesn’t have that data anymore,” says Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at research and investment banking firm Benchmark.
“All those data signals went away, which basically means that advertisers are having trouble telling whether a campaign was successful or not.”
Compounding the problem for Meta, TikTok is luring away advertisers, along with lucrative Gen Z and millennial users. In February, Meta announced its first-ever quarterly loss of daily active users. A recent internal report showed that Meta’s TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, is struggling to compete, according to Wall Street Journal report.
Under normal circumstances, a slight dip in revenue might be manageable, but Meta is also investing heavily in virtual reality and the metaverse, which is dragging down operating profit. In 2021, the company’s metaverse division, Meta Reality Labs, lost $10 billion. While the metaverse is all Zuckerberg wants to talk about, investors are less enthusiastic so far. “It’s a long tail investment and, for now, it’s kind of a cash suck,” Zgutowicz says.
Zuckerberg first became a billionaire in 2008, just four years after founding Facebook. At 23, he was the youngest self-made billionaire at the time, debuting at No. 321 on The Forbes 400, worth $1.5 billion. By 2011, Zuckerberg’s net worth had increased nearly 12 fold to $17.5 billion.
This year isn’t the first time Zuckerberg’s net worth has taken a dive. After Facebook’s famously disappointing IPO in 2012, Zuckerberg fell from No. 14 to No. 36 on The Forbes 400. But it didn’t last long. The following year, Zuckerberg bounced back and, up until now, his fortune has continued to climb. Despite the litany of controversies and scandals plaguing the company, Facebook’s ad machine had reliably churned out enough money to impress investors, sending Zuckerberg’s net worth soaring to $134.5 billion last year, his highest net worth ever.
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Disney CEO Bob Chapek plotting a metaverse for Disney+ that will recreate their parks online – Daily Mail

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By Alex Oliveira For Dailymail.Com
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Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park.
CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow ‘the 90 percent of people that will never ever be able to get to a Disney park,’ to experience it in virtual reality.
‘We call it next-gen storytelling’ Chapek said in an interview with Deadline, noting that he didn’t like use the phrase metaverse ‘because it has a lot of hair on it.’
But regardless of whatever Chapek prefers to call the planned platform, many have responded by calling the move out of touch with Disney’s fanbase, and argued that if the parks stopped hiking prices more people would be able to visit.  
The move comes as Chapek – who took the helm at Disney in 2020 – struggles to make a name for himself in the shadow of his innovative predecessor, Bob Iger, and keep afloat amid controversies ranging from the park’s rising prices, to Disney’s stance on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill. 
Just last week, Chapek broke a months-long silence on an apology he issued in an attempt to quell Disney staff who were outraged by his failure to speak out against the controversial bill last spring, saying he chose to remain mum on the matter because he didn’t want to get Disney caught in a ‘political subterfuge.’ 
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow people to experience park rides in virtual reality
Disney’s metaverse move comes as Chapek – who took the helm at Disney in 2020 – struggles to make a name for himself in the shadow of his innovative predecessor, Bob Iger
Chapek characterized the Disney metaverse as a way to experience the theme parks for the multitudes of people who are unable to actually make the trip in person.
‘We wish every person would have the opportunity to come to our parks, but we realize that’s not a reality for some people,’ he told Deadline, ‘we have before us an opportunity to turn what was a movie-service platform to an experiential platform and give them the ability to ride Haunted Mansion from a virtual standpoint.’
He said metaverse users would have an experience beyond what regular parkgoers have, and be able to step out of the ride-cars to explore sets and interact with characters. 
‘Maybe we’ll give them the opportunity what every single person in the park wants to do, and unfortunately too many of them do it, just to get off the attraction. See how it works, see how those ghost dancers move,’ he said. 

But many responded to the news by saying if Disney would just stop raising its prices, more of those 90 percent of people who cannot visit the parks would be able to.
‘Damn Disney. Just say it direct like that,’ wrote tech critic Juan Carlos Bagnell on Twitter, ‘90% of the HUMAN POPULATION is too poor to visit our parks, but hopefully some are less-poor-enough to own VR goggles and ride our rides in a metaverse clone…’
Commenters on the Deadline interview were equally unimpressed, with one saying ‘The reason 90% of people may not be able to experience the parks is because you keep hiking the cost of GOING to the parks beyond what most people can actually afford, Bob.’
‘Costs are up at the parks. Moral appears to be down. Iger had imagination and could adapt,’ said another.

Disney park prices have skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022. At California parks, ticket prices jumped 6 percent to $164 for single-park passes, while the price of getting into more than one park over the course of a day rose 9 percent to $319.
At the Florida parks the price to get into the park after 2pm rose to $169, while before 2pm fans were asked to fork over $194. Those prices could also rise based on an increased demand on any day.
‘If you’re the kind of person that budgets or saves for vacations, Disney Parks aren’t for you any longer,’ wrote a fed-up customer on Reddit, ‘That’s a Premium Physical Experience, and there’s plenty of national and international wealthy families to afford going indefinitely.’
And in August, as inflation scorched the US economy, Chapek warned those prices could continue to rise.
‘It’s all up to the consumer,’ he said, according to The New York Post, ‘If consumer demand keeps up, we’ll act accordingly.’
Disney’s metaverse would allow people to experience park rides like the Haunted Mansion without ever setting foot in Disney World
Chapek noted the virtual reality experience could go beyond simply sitting in the car and experiencing the ride the way park-goers do, but would allow people to step off of the tracks and explore the ride sets up close
Chapek has hardly been the happiest CEO on Earth since he took the reins at Disney.
After beginning his tenure in February, 2020, he was thrust immediately into the chaos of navigating Disney through the perils of the pandemic, which saw the media company’s primary revenue streams – theme park revenue and movie theater tickets – vanish like a pair of glass slippers at midnight.
To help steady the ship, Iger – much to Chapek’s ire, reportedly – was kept on in a leadership position through 2021.
But as soon as Chapek was given full control in 2022 his price hikes had customers raising eyebrows about whether he was up to the same scratch as the visionary Iger.
Those doubts were doubled-down on by Disney staff after Chapek decided to remain quiet on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, a law which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade.
Many Disney employees viewed the law as homophobic and an affront to the inclusive values of Disney, and publicly voiced their outrage that Chapek did not speak out against it.
Chapek said the metaverse would also work in conjunction with real-world visits to Disney theme parks
Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park
He later apologized to staff, publicly decried the bill, and announced Disney had paused all its political donations within Florida.
Last week, Chapek addressed that apology for the first time since he issued it, saying he had struggled to balance the needs and beliefs of every one of his employees and customers.
‘What we try to do is be everything to everybody,’ Chapek told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, ‘That tends to be very difficult because we’re The Walt Disney Company.’
‘We certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time we also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves,’ he said.

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Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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