Now it’s official: Facebook changes its name to Meta. Zuckerberg: “Now we are a social network, we want to become a metaverse company”

Facebook has officially changed its name, now it will be called Meta. This was announced by Mark Zuckerberg, directly from the virtual stage of Facebook Connect 2021: “We are a company that builds technologies to create connections,” said the CEO. “Together, we can finally put people at the heart of our technology and together, we can unlock an incredibly bigger virtual monetization economy.” In addition to this, Zuckerberg stated that the Meta name “reflects better who we are and what we hope to build”.

There is a lot of similarity to what happened in 2015 with Google, which created the holding Alphabet to manage various companies. Facebook, along with Instagram, Whatsapp and Oculus, will now be managed by Meta.

Facebook’s new name will tie the company together in its efforts to build the metaverse, the parallel universe imagined by Zuckerberg that is based on augmented reality. However, the rebranding that has materialized in these hours for many observers is also due to documents and internal investigations that for weeks have put the company’s top management under pressure and lowered user confidence.

Meanwhile, the @meta Twitter handle has appeared and the meta.com site now redirects to a Facebook welcome page outlining the changes, while the large banner in front of the Facebook headquarters now also bears the Meta logo.

Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Thursday that the structure of the company will not change, it will change the way it reports financial results. In practice, the Facebook app will join Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus under a parent company with a new name, modeled on Google’s rebranding with Alphabet in 2015.

Facebook will change the name of its company

According to the well-known tech site The Verge, Facebook may announce next week that it will change the name of its parent company. The change should only concern the company nomenclature, not the products. Currently, both the famous social network and the company that controls it, and which also controls Instagram, WhatsApp and other services, are called “Facebook”: it would be the latter to change its name, while the social network will continue to be called Facebook.

The next name change, which Mark Zuckerberg could unveil during “Connect”, the annual conference scheduled for October 28th, seems to have a very specific and ambitious purpose. It’s time for Facebook to be known for more than social media (and all the evils that that entails). There is no doubt that with the rebrand, the blue Facebook app would become one of the company’s products such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and others. And Zuckerberg would thus try to free the entire company from the social network which in the last period is a very random mix of joys and sorrows.

Telegram boom: 70 million new users during WhatsApp outage

The sensational blocking of social networks of the giant Facebook Inc. which includes: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has benefited some platforms, in particular Telegram. The Telegram instant messaging platform is WhatsApp’s “alternative” par excellence, both in terms of users and in terms of functionality.

With the inability to use WhatsApp, Messenger and Direct for over 6 hours, users have turned to other platforms such as Telegram which in a single day registered 70 million new users.

“I am proud of how our team has managed unprecedented growth because Telegram has continued to work flawlessly for the vast majority of our users. This is a record increase in user registration and activity” for the service. ” said Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram.

On the other hand, it was not easy to manage the situation, given that the high and unexpected number of active users on the platform created some slowdowns, particularly in the United States. After the return to normal of the Facebook group’s apps, most likely the great majority have returned to using mainly WhatsApp but could have kept Telegram in case of future blackouts.

WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram restart after 7 hours. How much the longest “down” in history cost

The repercussions have not only been on the nerves but also economically and politically around the world. Companies accustomed, from India to Brazil, to receiving orders and making deliveries by communicating through Facebook have suddenly stopped. Bloomberg estimates that the global economic loss was $ 160 million for every hour of digital disruption.

It took nearly seven hours to partially and slowly get back online. Not exactly a day to frame, Monday 4 October, for Mark Zuckerberg’s galaxy. First the words of Frances Haugen, the former manager who delivered internal research to lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal on how the social network manages content and risks for users. Then the downtime of all the sites and services that also involved the same Menlo Park employees with phones and badges out of order. Around midnight, a tweet from the group Zuck founded apologized for the “inconveniences.”

Even Zuckerberg himself, through his Facebook profile, apologized: «Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. I’m sorry for today’s interruption – I know how much you rely on our services to stay in touch with the people you care about, “wrote the founder of the social network par excellence. Shortly before midnight the first signs of recovery for Facebook and Instagram, while for Whatsapp only for a few seconds. As a Facebook spokesperson quoted by the New York Times reported, the services are coming back online, but he warned that it will take some time for them to stabilize. The fact remains that, as the downdetector that monitors digital disruptions reports, this is the largest breakdown ever recorded by the site.

Since shortly after 5.30 pm WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have not worked, or have worked in fits and starts, in various parts of the world, including Italy. And the hashtags #WhatsAppDown, #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown began to climb the twitter rankings, quickly reaching the top. Within a few minutes, the joke and irony competition also started, where Jack Dorsey also intervened.

It would be an incorrect configuration of the Facebook servers, therefore an internal error, the cause of the total downtime of the social network and of the WhatsApp and Instagram apps. This was reported by the New York Times which collected the explanation of John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer of Cloudflare, a web infrastructure company. The premise is that computers convert websites such as Facebook.com into numerical addresses (IP), through a system that the expert compares to the address book of a telephone.

4october ’21: WhatsApp, Facebook e Instagram down

WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram down Today 4 October 2021 all the major social platforms of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram seem to have serious problems in completing all the classic online uploading operations of the fundamental elements such as images or videos. There are tens of thousands of reports that are arriving. The problems seem to affect all three of Mark Zuckerberg’s platforms from the inability to send or receive multimedia messages on WhatsApp, to the inability to upload images or stories to Instagram. Obviously, on Twitter, the tide of messages from those wondering why this is happening immediately started, and many ironize about the malfunction just as usually happens in these cases since those who always use WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, open Twitter only if the first two don’t work. From the two social networks for the moment no news, no comments or explanations on what is happening

WhatsApp under indictment, chats are not as secret as Facebook says

Conversations on WhatsApp are protected by end-to-end encryption, as are most of the shared items. However, according to a new long article written by ProPublica, not all messages exchanged on the client, now owned by Facebook, are safe from prying eyes. Facebook or third-party consultants hired by the company, in fact, can read some extracts of the conversations that take place on the platform.

The heavy accusation is brought by the source through a long article that reads how Facebook has been sponsoring for years the use of end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp as a fundamental tool to keep any data exchange that takes place on the service safe. Despite this, the company can gain access to certain parts of the conversation, and ProPublica can say this based on observations made of about a thousand firm’s contract consultants who have reviewed millions of data.
WhatsApp, the accusation: contractors paid to read parts of conversations

These contractors have access to a dedicated Facebook software that is used to monitor private messages on WhatsApp, images and videos, which have been reported by other users: “These contractors have the task of analyzing everything that is displayed on their screen – statements about anything like fraud, spam or child pornography, or even potential terrorist plots – in less than a minute, “an excerpt from the report reads.

It should be noted that the contractors do not have the possibility to read the conversations of the users in full, but only the last five lines of a one-to-one conversation that has been reported by one of the two participants. This modus operandi is also indicated on the client itself when trying to report a conversation as inappropriate. The workers contracted by Facebook to monitor WhatsApp conversations operate in Austin, Dublin, Singapore and Texas, and carry out the monitoring activity as the sole task for the giant of Menlo Park.

If on the one hand it is true that consultants paid by Facebook can access parts of the conversations, on the other hand it is also true that these are sensitive chats reported as inappropriate and potentially dangerous by users. This could clash with the “pro-privacy” narrative spread by Facebook regarding the fact that the company cannot in any way access the contents of the chats due to end-to-end encryption, but in this case the purpose is to make secure conversations for all users.

Carl Woog, communications director for WhatsApp, admitted that the different contractors also have the ability to identify and remove the “worst” abusers. The same monitoring is also done on Facebook and Instagram, since Artificial Intelligence alone cannot be 100% effective to protect the most defenseless users from inappropriate, dangerous or even annoying content.

Facebook promptly responded to the accusations made by ProPublica, and below is an excerpt from the note released:

"We have developed WhatsApp to limit the data we collect to obtain spam and threat prevention tools, thus being able to remove abusive users, even based on the reports we receive from users. This work requires extraordinary effort. from our security experts and the trusted teams we employ, who work tirelessly to help us provide the world with secure private communication. "

The company also specified that “based on the feedback received from users, we are sure that people understand that when a conversation is reported to us, we receive an extract from it to be able to analyze it”.

WhatsApp, encrypted backups are coming: here’s how they work

WhatsApp is ready to release an important update that will allow users to encrypt chat backups: anticipated a few months ago, the news will be made available over the next few weeks to iOS and Android users. The solution, which is described in a whitepaper released by Facebook, aims to protect message backups that are stored in the cloud, be it Google Drive or iCloud, from prying and malicious eyes.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said: “WhatsApp is the first global messaging service on this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messages and backups and getting there was a really tough technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key archiving and cloud archiving between operating systems “.

When the user chooses to encrypt their backups, they will need to save a 64-digit encryption key or create a password linked to the key. When the password is created, WhatsApp stores the associated key in a physical hardware security module (HSM), which is managed by Facebook and unlocked only when the correct password is entered on WhatsApp. At this point, the correctly unlocked HSM provides the encryption key that decrypts the backup stored on Google or Apple’s servers.

The HSM is located in Facebook’s datacenters around the world to ensure continuity of service. If repeated, incorrect, password entry attempts occur, the HSM will become permanently inaccessible. Likewise, if you opt to manually save the 64-digit encryption key and lose it, the backup will no longer be accessible. However, it is still possible to reset the password if you have forgotten it. The basic idea is that it is guaranteed that only the account owner and no one else can access a backup.

The ability to use encrypted backup will only be for the user’s primary device, despite recent multi-device support.

WhatsApp, an avalanche of news arriving on the messaging app

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WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in the world with over two billion people who actively converse and exchange multimedia content with friends, relatives, colleagues and simple contacts. The company, for years now, continuously improves improvements to keep up with the times and, above all, to contrast the increasingly fierce competition from different fronts.

Among the media that can be shared on WhatsApp there are stickers, or adhesives, which represent a way to explicitly express your mood in a creative way. Unlike other apps, WhatsApp allows you to officially share only static stickers, while animated ones can be downloaded directly from the app only after the installation of official updates in the past few hours. Unfortunately, however, WhatsApp did not give precise timing.

The stickers are therefore not new on WhatsApp, beacuse the app allows you to send and receive them for a long time, and also manage them from third-party sources. With the novelty, however, it becomes possible to download animated stickers directly from the application store, through a more reliable procedure than that possible today. The feature has already appeared for the first users on the latest client beta for iOS and Android.

According to rumors not yet officially confirmed, the company would also be working on the implementation of stickers with loop playback, even if the functionality has not yet been introduced on the clients of the service, even in the experimental variants.

The company has made official in the past few hours also several other news, including the arrival of QR codes (which have also appeared on beta versions for some time) to share their account, the dark mode also on WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop, and also other minor changes:

  • animated stickers: stickers are increasingly used to communicate on WhatsApp, and our users send billions of them every day. We are implementing new packages of animated stickers that are increasingly fun and expressive
  • QR codes: with new functions, adding a new contact will be even easier. To add a new contact, just frame its QR code. You no longer have to enter the number manually
  • dark mode for WhatsApp Web and Desktop: the beloved dark mode now also arrives on the computer
  • improvements to group video calls: now that you can start a video call with 8 participants, we’ve made it easier to focus on one participant at a time. Just hold down his video to view it in full screen. We have also added a video icon in chats with up to 8 participants, so you can start a group video call with one touch
  • the status also arrives on KaiOS: KaiOS users now have the function that allows you to share updates to the status for 24 hours

    As we have already written, unfortunately, the WhatsApp team has not been precise on the timing within which the news will arrive. The blog says that they are scheduled for the “next few weeks”, for users who will update the client to the latest versions available for download.

Whatsapp: support for multi-device use is coming soon

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The multi-device on WhatsApp will allow you to use the same account on multiple devices, be they smartphones, desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. And, along with support for multi-device, compatibility with iPad should also come. At the moment, however, WhatsApp is far behind the competition, which has supported the multi-device for some time: an account can only be configured on the smartphone, and the latter must be active in order to use the service on other devices as well. Thanks to the novelty, however, WhatsApp will be usable everywhere even if the smartphone is turned off, as is the case on other similar services.