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Facebook Owner Meta Will Reportedly Lower Engineering Hiring Target for 2022 to Around 6,000-7,000

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms has reportedly reduced its target for hiring engineers in 2022 to around 6,000-7,000, down from an initial plan to hire about 10,000 new engineers. According to Reuters, the statement comes Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who cited the figure during a weekly employee Q&A session on Thursday.

In another update, Meta Platforms is bracing for a leaner second half of the year, as it copes with macroeconomic pressures and data privacy hits to its ads business, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The company must “prioritise more ruthlessly” and “operate leaner, meaner, better executing teams,” Chief Product Officer Chris Cox wrote in the memo, which appeared on the company’s internal discussion forum Workplace.

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“I have to underscore that we are in serious times here and the headwinds are fierce. We need to execute flawlessly in an environment of slower growth, where teams should not expect vast influxes of new engineers and budgets,” Cox wrote.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The memo is the latest rough forecast to come from Meta executives, who already moved to trim costs and pause hiring across much of the company this year in the face of slowing ad sales and user growth.

Tech companies across the board have scaled back their ambitions in anticipation of a possible US recession, although the slide in stock price at Meta has been more severe than at competitors Apple and Google.

The world’s biggest social media company lost about half its market value this year, after Meta reported that daily active users on its flagship Facebook app had experienced a quarterly decline for the first time.

Its austerity drive comes at a tricky time, coinciding with two major strategic pivots: one aimed at re-fashioning its social media products around “discovery” to beat back competition from short-video app TikTok, the other an expensive long-term bet on augmented and virtual reality technology.

In his memo, Cox reportedly said Meta would need to increase fivefold the number of graphic processing units (GPUs) in its data centres by the end of the year to support the “discovery” push, which requires extra computing power for artificial intelligence to surface popular posts from across Facebook and Instagram in users’ feeds.

Interest in Meta’s TikTok-style short video product Reels was growing quickly, said Cox, with users doubling the amount of time they were spending on Reels year over year, both in the United States and globally.

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Some 80 percent of the growth since March came from Facebook, he added.

That user engagement with Reels could provide a key route to bolster the bottom line, making it important to boost ads in Reels “as quickly as possible,” he added.

Zuckerberg told investors in April that executives viewed Reels as “a major part of the discovery engine vision,” but at the time described the short video shift as a “short-term headwind” that would increase revenue gradually as advertisers became more comfortable with the format.

Cox said Meta also saw possibilities for revenue growth in business messaging and in-app shopping tools, the latter of which, he added, could “mitigate signal loss” created by Apple-led privacy changes.

He said the company’s hardware division was “laser-focused” on successfully launching its mixed-reality headset, code-named “Cambria,” in the second half of the year. Meta was also focused on linking accounts across its virtual reality products and traditional social media apps, he said.

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© Thomson Reuters 2022

 


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YouTube Plans to Launch Online Store for Streaming Video Services: Report

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Alphabet’s YouTube is planning to launch an online store for streaming video services, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The company has renewed talks with entertainment companies about participating in the platform, which it is referring to internally as a “channel store”, the report said, citing people close to the recent discussions.

The platform has been in the works for at least 18 months and could be available as early as this fall, the report added.

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Alphabet did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

With more consumers cutting the cord on cable or satellite TV and shifting to subscription-based streaming services, the planned launch will allow YouTube to join companies like Roku and Apple in a bid to gain a portion of the already crowded streaming market.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Walmart has held talks with media companies about including streaming entertainment in its membership service.

Last month, YouTube collaborated with Shopify to allow merchants to sell through the video platform, as the Canadian company looks to tap into the growing number of content creators launching their own e-commerce stores. The partnership, which builds on an existing one with Google, will allow merchants to integrate their online stores with YouTube, which reaches over two billion monthly users. Shopify, which makes tools for merchants to set up their online stores, in June launched new features to help its clients sell to other businesses and on Twitter in a bid to counter a post-pandemic slowdown in online shopping.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


 

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US Gunman Posted 'Call to Arms' on Truth Social After FBI Searched Donald Trump's Home: Reports

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An armed man who fled after attempting to breach an FBI office in Ohio appears to have posted a “call to arms” on Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform after federal agents searched the ex-president’s home, US media reported Friday.

An account bearing the name of 42-year-old suspect Ricky Shiffer, identified by Ohio authorities on Friday, featured multiple posts of violent anger including his failed plan to attack the FBI, according to screen shots of the profile, multiple US outlets reported.

“This is your call to arms,” an account bearing Shiffer’s name posted on Truth Social.

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“I am proposing war,” the account posted, urging “patriots” to kill federal agents the day after Trump’s Florida residence was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — a move that sparked outrage in right-wing circles.

Shortly before it was removed from the social media platform, the same account appeared on Thursday to confess to attempting to storm FBI offices in the midwestern state of Ohio.

The FBI said Thursday that a person armed with a weapon had tried to breach the entry to the bureau’s office in the city of Cincinnati.

According to local media, the man fired a nail gun and brandished an AR-15-style rifle before fleeing by car.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the FBI, and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops while,” read a post, which appears to end mid-sentence and was shared Thursday morning, according to reports.

The incident drew nationwide attention as it occurred only a few days after the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion, although there was no immediate confirmation the events were linked.

The suspect in Ohio was killed in a standoff with police after a vehicle pursuit and exchange of gunfire, authorities said.


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Elon Musk Teases Potential Social Media Site as Competitor for Twitter

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Amid his ongoing legal battle against Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased a potential social media site of his own as a competitor for Twitter. While responding to a question from one of his followers, Musk dropped a cryptic tweet, hinting at a potential new social media platform ‘X.com’.

On Tuesday, a social media user asked the billionaire tech tycoon whether he had given any thought to creating his own social platform.

Musk, who is quite active on Twitter, noticed the question and responded by just writing “X.com”.

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X.com used to be the domain name of a startup Musk founded two decades ago, which he later merged with financial services company PayPal.

In fact, last week, Musk talked about the website during Tesla‘s annual shareholder meeting last week as well.

“I do sort of have a grander vision for what I thought X Corporation could have been back in the day. It’s a pretty grand vision and of course, that could be started from scratch but I think Twitter would accelerate that by three to five years,” Musk had reportedly said.

The tweet comes at a time when Musk is involved in a high-stakes legal battle with Twitter.

Twitter recently sued Musk after he decided to back out of the $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore) takeover deal. In April, Musk reached an acquisition agreement with Twitter at $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,500) per share in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion.

However, Musk put the deal on hold in May to allow his team to review the veracity of Twitter’s claim that less than 5 percent of accounts on the platform are bots or spam.

Back in June, Musk had openly accused the microblogging website of breaching the merger agreement and threatened to walk away and call off the acquisition of the social media company for not providing the data he has requested on spam and fake accounts.

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Musk alleged that Twitter is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” as outlined by the deal, CNN reported, citing the letter he sent to Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, Vijaya Gadde.

Musk demanded that Twitter turn over information about its testing methodologies to support its claims that bots and fake accounts constitute less than 5 percent of the platform’s active user base, a figure the company has consistently stated for years in boilerplate public disclosures.


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