Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – October 2nd
Meta trading at its lowest since 2019 – 9/30
Meta lost two-thirds of its value since its peak in September 2021. For comparison, last year, the company had a market cap of $1 trillion. Meta stock is trading at its lowest since January 2019. Experts predict Meta will close its third quarter in the row with double-digit percentage losses.
Meta faces continuous challenges of advertisers reducing spending and users switching to other platforms. Likewise, the company has a problem recruiting fresh talent.
In January 2019, the company was embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. Since then, the company suffered more reputational damage when former employee Francis Haugen leaked confidential documents. They revealed the company knew about the negative impact of its products on children, but was unwilling to do anything about it.
However, the company still has one of the most profitable business models. Meta managed to generate $6.7 billion in profit, even though it experienced a 36% drop in net income in the last quarter from the year prior. The number of daily active users in the United States and Canada dropped from 198 million (mid-2020) to 197 million (second quarter of 2022). But the number of users globally went up 10% during the same period. Experts predict the number of users globally will rise 3% yearly through 2024.
The UN appoints first female secretary-general of International Telecommunication Union – 9/30
United Nations elected Doreen Bogdan-Martin as the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, the main technology agency within the UN. She is the first woman appointed to the position. She succeeds Houlin Zhao, who was secretary-general since 2014.
United Nations founded the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1865 to manage the first international telegraph networks. But since then, the agency became responsible for numerous facets of international communications that included improving infrastructure in developing countries, assigning satellite orbits, and coordinating technical standards.
Following her win, Ms. Bogdan-Martin stated: “Whether it’s today’s children or our children’s children, we need to provide them with a strong and stable foundation for growth… The world is facing significant challenges – escalating conflicts, a climate crisis, food security, gender inequalities, and 2.7 billion people with no access to the internet.”
President Biden endorsed her candidacy and stated: “She understands the importance of connecting every school to the internet and making sure every student can access virtual learning, providing women and girls the digital tools they need to succeed, and extending the benefits of online health and educational resources.”
Meta will continue to pay for Sheryl Sandberg’s security – 10/1
Based on the reports from Reuters, Meta will continue to pay for Sheryl Sandberg’s security until June 30th, 2023. The security will be available at her residence and while she is traveling. Meta board agreed to the arrangement and cited “continuing threats to her safety” as the reason. Sheryl Sandberg joined Meta in 2008. In August of this year, she announced she would be stepping down, and her last day on the job was September 30th.
Several scandals marked the last few years of Sandberg’s tenure at Meta. In 2019, the company was embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Likewise, the company’s revenue shrank earlier this year.
Personal scandals marred Sandberg too. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Sandberg used the company’s resources to kill negative stories about Bobby Kotick (Activision CEO), who she was dating at the time. A few months later, Meta launched an internal investigation into Sandberg’s use of the company’s resources for personal projects.
Sandberg will continue to serve on Meta’s board and receive compensation as a non-employee director.
Elon Musk presents a humanoid robot at Tesla 2022 AI Day – 9/30
On Friday, Tesla hosted Tesla 2022 AI Day, its engineer-recruiting event, in Palo Alto, California. Musk was joined on stage by representatives from his AI and hardware departments.
Tesla presented the prototype of its bipedal humanoid robot named Tesla Bot or Optimus. According to Musk, the robot walked around the stage without any mechanical support for the first time. The Tesla team members showed how the humanoid robot might function in the future, with adaptive hands that would allow it to handle various objects.
Tesla employees also spoke about their dedication to the human form and their work on actuators and special batteries that would keep the power consumption to a minimum. The robot would work a full day on a single charge.
Elon Musk said the company was hosting the AI Day “to convince some of the most talented people in the world like you guys, to join Tesla and help make it a reality.” He also stated he thinks customers would be able to buy Optimus within three to five years.