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Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Meta’s mess, Bangladesh’s bailout, Africa’s floods, China’s gender gap

11,000: There’s nothing meta about it: Mark Zuckerberg’s company on Wednesday laid off more than 11,000 employees, totalling 13% of its workforce. The cuts come after a wretched year for Meta, which is struggling with lower digital ad revenue amid a global economic slowdown, while facing fierce competition from other platforms for younger users. Zuck says the company will now focus more narrowly on artificial intelligence, advertising, and his beloved metaverse.

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Challenges and Risks Associated with NFT | Cyber In :60 | GZERO Media

NFTs: Hype, mainstream growth - & implications

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

How wild is the NFT art world? And are there any loopholes behind the trend?

Well, to start with for me, the prices are insanely wild. It looked like a small circle of already wealthy fans are enjoying this new type of speculation. And while I love art, I think there's a world of difference between the Bored Apes and Van Gogh. And I have not quite discovered any appealing cutting-edge creativity in the NFT space. And meanwhile, the loophole are many, there is unauthorized use of images for NFTs, but also risks of money laundering and inflating prices artificially. And the whole hype reminds me a bit of Tulip mania, when in the Netherlands between 1634 and 1637, bulbs were sold for as much as 10 times the annual salary of a skilled artisan.

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Enter the Metaverse: The Digital World Facebook Wants To Move Towards | Cyber In :60 | GZERO Media

Facebook metaverse launch leads other Big Tech firms to focus on AR/VR

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is Facebook planning with the metaverse?

Well, my sense is that Facebook mostly prefers a virtual reality over the actual situation the company is in, with overwhelming criticism about the many harms to people it is causing all over the world. The metaverse at launch would be added to a number of services and experiences online in a more virtual and augmented reality setting. Think about what the gaming sector has done, but now, also, other big tech firms are jumping on the bandwagon. The thing to remember is that the user experience would be more immersive.

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Migrants walk towards the Bruzgi-Kuznica Bialostocka border crossing in an attempt to cross the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno Region, Belarus November 15, 2021.

Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: EU vs everyone, Austria vs the unvaccinated, India vs smog, Barbados vs real world

The EU targets "everyone!" The EU on Monday unanimously agreed to impose fresh sanctions on "everyone involved" in bringing migrants to the Belarus-Poland border, where a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis continues as thousands of asylum-seekers shiver in makeshift camps. Brussels says Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has deliberately created this crisis to strike back against existing EU sanctions that were imposed in response to his sham re-election last year and his hijacking of a RyanAir flight this summer. Reports show that Belarus loosened visa restrictions for migrants — largely from Iraq — to serve as a transit point for migrants hoping to cross the EU border to apply for asylum. Details of the new sanctions aren't yet decided, but they are likely to target political officials, travel agencies, and airlines. Lukashenko has vowed to fight back, but he won't cut off the Russian gas flows that traverse his country on the way to Europe — Vladimir Putin quickly slapped down that possibility after Lukashenko raised it over the weekend. The question remains: will EU sanctions change Belarus' behavior?

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