Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 01, 2021

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

Get used to 'Meta,' a new name for the company behind Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

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1.gifRead a column, reader letter or editorial about Facebook and tell why you agree or disagree with the main viewpoint.

2.gifBriefly summarize other tech or social media coverage.

3.gifShare a quote about any form of communication, online or in real life.

Facebook is trying to carve a fresh identity with a new corporate logo and a new name – Meta. The main social media network and the company's other apps, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, keep their names and now are under the Meta umbrella. Founder Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to "transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company" offering virtual reality and augmented reality platforms for work, gaming and communication, he said last week. Zuckerberg sees the metaverse as a successor to the mobile Internet. "This may sound like science fiction, [but] we're starting to see a lot of these technologies come together," he continued. "In the next five to 10 years, a lot of this is going be mainstream. … We are fully committed to this. It is the next chapter of our work."

Renaming Facebook also may help distance the company from new controversies about its role in amplifying misinformation and stirring unrest with inflammatory content. Ongoing media reports on a vast set of leaked documents show persistent internal concerns about decisions that allowed – and sometimes emphasized – false claims and polarizing content. "Rebranding might not be able to wash off the stench that is already here and could get worse," media columnist Tom Jones posts at Poynter, a journalism training organization in Florida. Another skeptic, former New York Times tech writer Charlie Warzel, writes Friday at his blog: "Here's a company marching forward and optimistically into the future and ignoring the smoldering mess it made in the background."

Federal regulation of Facebook and other social media giants seems more possible than in the past. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks of "a building drumbeat for accountability -- a movement for reform that will require disclosure of the powerful algorithms that drive destructive content."

Chief executive says: "Facebook is one of the most-used products in the world. But increasingly, it doesn't encompass everything that we do. Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything we are doing." — Mark Zuckerberg

Journalist says: "Now Facebook is under fire for — well, everything, it seems. Its dirty laundry is being aired as lawmakers start to seriously grapple with how to regulate Facebook and other social media companies." – Amber Phillips, The Washington Post

Columnist says: "This, of course, is not Facebook’s first bout of sustained bad publicity, . . . but the current reckoning feels especially intense." – Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2021

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