Zuckerberg’s Meta Pivot Is ‘Quite Odd’

  • IAC founder Barry Diller says “something is pretty weird” about Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse pivot.
  • The billionaire questioned Zuckerberg’s decision to focus on technology that “doesn’t yet exist”.
  • Meta has lost over 70% of its value since the Facebook founder changed his name.

Media mogul Barry Diller had some harsh words for Mark Zuckerberg on Monday.

The founder of IAC, an internet and media conglomerate, said he had “great respect” for Zuckerberg, but questioned the Facebook founder’s decision to pivot to the metaverse, a digital universe where users interact through avatars.

Diller did Billions by founding and investing in leading media companies like Expedia Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. The 80-year-old is currently worth an estimated $3.8 billion, per Forbes List of Global Billionaires.

“If you’re changing your company name to something that doesn’t yet exist to successfully bury what exists wildly, there’s something pretty weird about that,” Diller said in a interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box.

A spokesperson for Meta did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

After changing the name of Facebook’s parent company to Meta last year, Zuckerberg has revised Facebook with a vision to create a world where people connect in a digital world using virtual and augmented reality devices. The Facebook founder spent $15 billion so far on the project and has said that one day the metaverse will be how people “interact with the world”.

But, reviews said the technology wasn’t there yet. Competitors like Snap and Apple have turned away of the term. Avatars in Meta’s Horizon World’s doesn’t even have legs yet and many users have taken to social media to make fun of Meta’s bad graphics.

At the same time, Meta’s value plummeted amid Zuckerberg’s metaverse push as the company shed more than 70% of its value since the co-founder of Facebook first announced name change. Last month, Meta shares dropped 24% after the company missed its profit targets and Zuckerberg said he intends to spend billions more on the metaverse project in the coming year – a move that has left some investors staggering.

Ultimately, Diller said Zuckerberg would be more successful if he stuck to Facebook’s original vision.

“If he just paid attention to his basic activities, I think he’s fine,” Diller told CNBC. “These companies are awesome. They’re awesome. I mean, built from scratch, they’re just fantastic companies,” he added, noting that Facebook stands to face huge gains if TikTok is banned for United States – a move he thinks is very likely.

Republican lawmakers have worked in recent months to revive Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok over fears that US data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. Last week, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr said to Axios Regulatory agencies like the Council for Foreign Investment in the United States are expected to take action to ban the app which is owned by Chinese media company ByteDance.

At Meta, Zuckerberg has continuously copied the popular video app, rolling out features like Instagram Reels. In October, Zuckerberg referred to TikTok as a “very efficient competitor”.

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