Billionaire Barry Diller says there's something rather odd about Mark Zuckerberg's decision to turn Facebook into Meta

Billionaire Barry Diller says there’s something rather odd about Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to turn Facebook into Meta

  • 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 has earned billions by founding and investing in top media companies like Expedia Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. The 80-year-old is currently worth around $3.8 billion, according to 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 overhauled Facebook with a vision to create a world where people connect in a digital world using virtual and augmented reality devices. . The Facebook founder has spent $15 billion so far on the project and said one day the metaverse will be how people “interact with the world”.

But, critics said the technology just wasn’t there yet. Competitors like Snap and Apple have shunned the term. Meta’s Horizon World avatars don’t even have legs yet, and many users have taken to social media to mock Meta’s poor graphics.

Meanwhile, Meta’s value has plummeted amid Zuckerberg’s metaverse surge, with the company having lost more than 70% of its value since the Facebook co-founder announced the name change. Meta shares fell 24% last month after the company missed profit targets and Zuckerberg said he intended to spend billions more on the Metaverse project over the course of the year. to come – a move that left some investors reeling.

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 bid 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 told Axios regulatory agencies, such as the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States, that they should take action to ban the company-owned app. Chinese media company ByteDance.

At Meta, Zuckerberg has continually copied the popular video app, rolling out features like Instagram Reels. In October, Zuckerberg called TikTok a “very effective competitor.”

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