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Meta Sues MyStalk Over Instagram Clones – Facebook

Meta Platforms on Tuesday sued MyStalk, which allows people to anonymously view material posted to Instagram Stories.

In a complaint filed in federal court, Meta alleges that Istanbul resident Ekrem Ates — who Meta says does business as MyStalk — scraped data from the profiles of more than 350,000 Instagram users, published the data on his own sites, and “promoted ‘stalking people’ without their noticing.”

Meta typically makes Instagram Stories viewable for 24 hours and provides people who post the stories with the usernames of viewers.

“Defendant scraped Instagram user data from Meta computers without permission in order to display it on his Instagram ‘clone sites,’” Facebook alleges. The company adds that Ates monetized the service with Google ads.

Meta says it disabled scrapers associated with Ates’ accounts, sent him a cease and desist letter, and requested he deletes all data scraped from Facebook and Instagram.

Ates allegedly told Meta he transferred MyStalk to someone else but didn’t provide information about that person.

“Notwithstanding defendant’s claim that he no longer owned MyStalk, and Meta’s technical enforcement actions, cease and desist letter, and technical anti-scraping measures, the defendant continues to scrape Instagram user data to display on MyStalk as of July 5, 2022,” the complaint alleges.

The company claims in its lawsuit that Ates violated Meta’s terms of service, which prohibit scraping, as well as a California criminal law regarding unauthorized access to computers.

The company is seeking monetary damages and an injunction prohibiting Ates from a host of activities — including accessing Meta’s platforms and distributing data obtained from Facebook or Instagram.

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Facebook is now Meta

(Credit: CMBC)  – Facebook on Thursday announced that it has changed its company name to Meta. The name change was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference. The new name reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. Facebook, now known as Meta, has adopted the new moniker, based on the sci-fi term metaverse, to describe its vision for working and playing in a virtual world.

  • Facebook on Thursday announced that it has changed its company name to Meta.
  • The name change, which was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference, reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media.
  • The re-branding also comes after the company has dealt with a barrage of news reports over the past month stemming from whistleblower Frances Haugen’s trove of internal documents.

“Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

The company also said in announcing the new name that it will change its stock ticker from FB to MVRS, effective Dec. 1.

Meta’s stock price closed up on Thursday.

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David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In July, the company announced the formation of a team that would work on the metaverse. Two months later, the company said it would elevate Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who is currently the head of the company’s hardware division, to the role of chief technology officer in 2022. And in its third-quarter earnings results on Monday, the company announced that it will break out Reality Labs, its hardware division, into its own reporting segment, starting in the fourth quarter.

“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter on Thursday.

Over the past few years, the company has ramped up its efforts in hardware, introducing a line of Portal video-calling devices, launching the Ray-Ban Stories glasses and rolling out various versions of the Oculus virtual-reality headsets. The company has indicated that augmented and virtual reality will be a key part of its strategy in the coming years.

The company also said this week it’d spend about $10 billion over the next year developing the technologies required for building the metaverse.

Zuckerberg on Thursday provided a demonstration of the company’s ambitions for the metaverse.

The demo was a Pixar-like animation of software the company hopes to build some day. The demo included users hanging out in space as cartoon-like versions of themselves or fantastical characters, like a robot, that represent their virtual selves. Zuckerberg used part of it to accuse other tech firms of stifling innovation with high developer fees.

Zuckerberg said a lot of this is a long way off, with elements of the metaverse potentially becoming mainstream in five to 10 years. The company expects “to invest many billions of dollars for years to come before the metaverse reaches scale,” Zuckerberg added.

“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg said.

Additionally, Meta announced a new virtual reality headset named Project Cambria. The device will be a high-end product available at a higher price point than the $299 Quest 2 headset, the company said in a blog post. Project Cambria will be released next year, Zuckerberg said.

Meta also announced the code name of its first fully AR-capable smart glasses: Project Nazare. The glasses are “still a few years out,” the company said in a blog post. Zuckerberg said “we still have a ways to go with Nazare, but we’re making good progress.”

The re-branding comes amid a barrage of news reports over the past month after Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower, released a trove of internal company documents to news outlets, lawmakers and regulators.

The reports show that the company is aware of many of the harms its apps and services cause but either doesn’t rectify the issues or struggles to address them. More documents are expected to be shared daily over the coming weeks.

In a call with analysts on Monday, Zuckerberg vehemently refuted the claims and critiques in the reports stemming from the documents provide by Haugen.

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Facebook is Planning to Change its Name

(Credit: CNN) Facebook is planning to rebrand itself with a new name focused on the metaverse, the Verge reported on Tuesday, as the tech giant comes under fire from regulators around the world over its business practices.

The company plans to announce the new name next week, the Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook wants to be known for more than social media, according to the tech publication.

Facebook does not comment on rumor or speculation, a company spokesperson said in response to a question about the potential name change.

In addition to its flagship social media network, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. A name change could position the three mega platforms under an umbrella brand, similar to the structure used by Google, which sits under parent company Alphabet.

The name change may reflect Facebook’s direction. The metaverse refers to efforts to combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm.

The idea is to create a space similar to the internet, where users (via digital avatars) can walk around and interact with one another in real time. In theory, users could sit around a virtual meeting table with remote colleagues, and then walk over to a virtual Starbucks to meet up with a friend.

Facebook announced earlier this week that it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to work on creating the metaverse.

A rebranding could be part of an effort to overhaul Facebook’s reputation following a tsunami of bad news linked to misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effect its products have on some users’ mental health.

Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who used to work at Facebook as a product manager, testified earlier this month that the company is aware that its platforms are used to spread hate and misinformation but has failed to take action to prevent it. Facebook’s leaders have come under fire for allegedly choosing profit over health, and lawmakers have drawn comparisons to Big Tobacco.

Facebook has aggressively pushed back against the claims, calling many of them “misleading” and arguing that its apps do more good than harm.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to discuss the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, according to the Verge.

A relatively small number of major companies have changed established brands. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan and the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. The social media company Snapchat rebranded as Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware.

Some high-profile name changes have followed scandal or controversy. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.