Big changes are happening in the social world with Facebook Inc. becoming Meta, YouTube outlining it’s answer to TikTok and Reels with a ‘Shorts’ campaign with Ed Sheeran and even Twitter is getting in on the action with a new platform for audio creators titled ‘Spark’.

Facebook has been especially busy this past month, rolling out a massive global rebranding campaign to announce the change of the company to Meta. In addition to the rebrand, Facebook, now Meta, has also answered privacy concerns with a video content series attempting to explain its new and improved privacy regulations, aimed primarily at newly introduced government legislation towards the tech sector. There’s a lot going on so let’s dive in on the headlines you need to know.

1. Facebook Inc. is now Meta

Agencies, clients and everyone in between – don’t worry, the namesake app isn’t going anywhere or changing its name. Facebook is still Facebook, but like many other companies, notably Google rebranding as Alphabet Inc. in 2015, and Snapchat as Snap Inc. in 2016, Facebook is just giving itself some growing space and who can blame them after the PR nightmare they’ve had this year alone?

Introducing Meta

 2. Why Meta? Zuckerberg believes the Metaverse is the next chapter of the Internet

“I believe the Metaverse is the next chapter for the internet and it’s the next chapter for our company too”, Mark Zuckerberg states during Facebook Connect 2021 as he begins the announcement of Facebook rebranding into Meta. According to Facebook (now Meta) ,“Meta is helping to build the Metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection.” In the announcement video, Zuckerberg goes back to his origins of repositioning Meta as the technology for creators by creators that’s sole focus is connecting people through technology. While Zuckerberg is doing his best to rally creators and speak to how focusing on designing technology around the human experience and even acknowledges that Facebook is one of the most used products in the history of the world, he fails to mention the surrounding controversy that Meta is now a media conglomerate that has far reaching implications other than virtual human experiences. What does the rebrand mean for users? Facebook is no longer the gatekeeper to the family of apps or future company products and services.

Watch Facebook Connect 2021

3. Additional updates from Facebook include a privacy regulations video series, launch of Reels in US, and a new API aimed at AR (augmented reality) wearables

As if Meta wasn’t busy enough, the Facebook brand of Meta has several new projects that have recently launched. First up is a new machine learning process, titled Anticipate Video Transformer that aims to predict future actions based on visual interpretation. Facebook states,  “AVT could be especially useful for applications such as an AR “action coach” or an AI assistant, by prompting someone that they may be about to make a mistake in completing a task or by reacting ahead of time with a helpful prompt for the next step in a task. For example, AVT could warn someone that the pan they’re about to pick up is hot, based on the person’s previous interactions with the pan.” Second up, is Facebook’s attempt to address the issues within the platform itself of transparency in content moderation with a campaign supporting government regulation of the tech sector but Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has often publicly testified that Facebook should not be held responsible for the content on its platform. It’s a discussion that will be ongoing as countries like Australia have passed legislation, where we wrote about this last month here, where the High Court ruled that Facebook is indeed responsible and will be held liable for the content published. Last but not least, Facebook is also taking a crack at getting younger viewers to the platform by introducing Reels to Facebook itself in the US.

Watch Video Series

4. YouTube attempts to reach younger audiences with the introduction of Shorts campaign with Ed Sheeran

YouTube understands the popularity of short-form vertical videos and has also introduced a format to increase viewership on the platform by allowing users to film content within the YouTube app on the Shorts camera. While the product itself was introduced in September 2020, YouTube has ramped up awareness by pairing up with UK artist, Ed Sheeran. Sheeran is using YouTube Shorts as an audio and visual teaser for his upcoming album while driving engagement amongst his fans and increasing education and awareness on how to create their own Shorts. It’s a win-win-win for Sheeran himself, Youtube and fans who want to engage.

Watch Shorts

5. Twitter tries to jump on the social audio bandwagon with ‘Spark’

If it seems like everyone has a Podcast, it’s because social audio is really having a moment with billions of dollars being invested to ensure its sustainability. Amazon and Spotify have invested significant sums into audio and podcasting and the rise of app, Clubhouse and Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms have cemented that social audio is here to stay. Twitter has thrown its hat into the ring to scout the next audio talent within the audio room format, titled Spaces within the Twitter platform, by offering an open call to creators to be part of a new creator program. What is this new creator program? It’s essentially a three-month accelerator that ensures the talent is supported to build out the viability of Twitter’s audio rooms. Social audio is here to stay and now users can choose to be a part of audio storytelling with live audio rooms or continue enjoying passive listening with podcasts and other audio content.

Speak Up with Spark