Meta’s work with NFTs on Facebook and Instagram is “winding down,” according to the company’s commerce and fintech lead Stephane Kasriel in a Twitter thread. The decision means that in the coming weeks, it will discontinue its tests of minting and selling NFTs on Instagram, as well as the ability to share NFTs on Instagram and Facebook.
Meta folds on NFT investment
Meta, one of the largest tech companies, is discontinuing its nonfungible token features on its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, roughly ten months after they were introduced. NFTs on the platforms were relatively brief, as testing began in May with a subset of Instagram creators before expanding to Facebook in June.
The NFT integrations appear to be one casualty of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s drive to make 2023 the “year of efficiency,” along with the Reels Play bonus program. However, their demise follows the closures of the Meta-backed cryptocurrency Diem and Meta’s Novi digital wallet last year.
Kasriel added that the company is still prioritizing ways for users to “connect with their fans and monetize” and will focus on tools such as building payment rails on its platform and through its messaging apps, as well as monetizing reels. These short-form videos appear on Facebook and Instagram.
Kasriel specifically mentioned a focus on Meta Pay, the firm’s payment platform, which according to trademark filings from May, could support crypto in the future.
Meta continues with Web3 adoption
As it scrambles to make its metaverse dreams a (virtual) reality, the tech giant has been slashing costs across the board. Last year, Reality Labs, the division of Meta that develops AR and VR products, lost $13.7 billion. In November, the company laid off 11,000 workers, or approximately 13% of its global workforce, marking the largest reduction in the company’s history.
And as the company weathers this storm, the hype surrounding NFTs has significantly subsided. At the time, it appeared that Meta’s interest in NFTs could intersect with its plans for a virtual reality metaverse; CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that he hoped users would be able to mint virtual clothing as NFTs in the future.
Kasriel clarified that the company would not abandon its mission to help creators connect with their fans but would shift its focus to other messaging and monetization products, such as Reels. The telecommunication entity will also continue to collaborate with NFT and Web3 content creators who use its suite of tools to assist them in expanding their communities.
Still, despite Meta’s exit from NFTs, other companies are rushing into a market that collapsed in 2022 and lost billions of dollars in value following early 2021 levels of hyperbole.
Reddit continues to promote its NFT “digital collectible” avatars. In addition, Starbucks recently sold out a selection of 2,000 $100 NFTs in its Odyssey customer loyalty program, and Sesame Street has just announced an NFT collaboration.
The crypto community expressed severe disapproval of the announcement. Allen Hena, the co-founder of Web3 company Earth Labs, provided a more severe critique, stating that the company abandoned the concept because it realized that using public crypto networks means the tech giant cannot exploit creators.
Other NFT enthusiasts demanded explanations as to why a company that was supposed to be long-term-minded was all of a sudden short-term-minded.
One day after confirming its withdrawal from NFTs, Meta has now announced that it will cut an additional 10,000 jobs. The troubled technology company is drastically reducing its workforce, and this comes on the heels of 11,000 layoffs in November.
Mark Zuckerberg has stated that he desires 2023 to be a “year of efficiency”; however, analysts and shareholders continue to express concern over the vast sums spent on the metaverse. However, the CEO of the social network has confirmed that it will eliminate projects “that aren’t performing or may no longer be crucial.”
He went on to reveal that 5,000 open positions at Meta will be eliminated, and he warned that the turmoil might not be over for some time, stating that this new economic reality may continue for many years. One Twitter user closed it out with the following:
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