Meta, who renewed her identity from Facebook last October, will continue to work on building access to the project metavers through devices that enable a more immersive version of the InternetAjit Mohan, Vice President and CEO, India, said Meta Indian Express in an interview. He also talked about the future of internet advertising in the meta-verse and the company’s plans for the upcoming Indian Premier League broadcast rights auction. Edited excerpts:
Given that political ads represent a small portion of your revenue and the heat they bring through platform bias claims, how does the cost-benefit ratio work?
I do not really have an opinion on that. Overall, this is one of the calls we took some time ago. In the context of the role we can play – just as companies connect with consumers, we have discovered that our platforms are used to promote purposes. We saw that one of the roles we played in the pandemic was to raise awareness about the public health agenda. The code for the platform is that one can build communities and get a message across, and then I can also imagine the usefulness from a campaign perspective. When you look at political ads as a percentage of the total (revenue) both in India and globally, it becomes quite obvious that the driving force for us is not revenue.
Companies around the world have increased their investment in the meta-verse. How is the future of Internet advertising changing in Web 3.0 and Metaverset?
In a very short time, from the time we formulated the metaverse idea and change of identity to Meta, there was a huge enthusiasm from business and industry leaders across the spectrum and I have also seen this enthusiasm in India. Leaders instinctively gain the power of a more immersive Internet, and what it means to move from 2D to 3D (two-dimensional to three-dimensional), not only from a consumer perspective – with use cases such as fitness and games – but also from a consumer perspective. business perspective if they can engage with these users in a more immersive way. We’re been pretty open about saying we do not know all the answers right now. Since the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, the company has been investing in AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) for some time. We have no illusions that we are building the metaverse. We know that we will contribute to what is being metaversed and that different companies will create different spaces. It was supposed to be interoperable, much more than mobile internet was. At the same time, we have no illusions that we have it in order, whether it’s in terms of technology or how interoperability will work, or even what the different revenue streams will be. What we do know is that there will be a lot of work on the access page on devices that will enable a more immersive version of the Internet.
Governments and regulators around the world are discussing policy formulation for non-fungible cryptocurrencies and tokens, and the metaverse? How important is it that these policies are defined as early as possible?
In the latest version of the Internet, many of these laws and policies were to be made after the fact. We have seen this explosive growth and innovation that has had a huge impact on the global economy as well as people’s ability to connect seamlessly. But we also discovered that there were many bad actors who could do a lot of damage. Even in some of our own work – we’ve had a lot of basic product work and policy changes over the last few years based on acknowledging that. We have the opportunity to learn from this when we consider how we should design the various building blocks that will form Metaverset over the next 5-10 years. For example, we have built-in privacy as a core design principle in every function of the product, and that will translate quite well. We need to work proactively with stakeholders, including regulators around the world, to ensure that we build this framework in a way that enables innovation but absorbs the experience of the last 20 years.
Is Facebook involved in these conversations regarding policy making in India on these aspects?
Given the nature of the company, we are. When you look at how deeply we look at building Web 3.0 and Metaverse, a fundamentally different technology, we naturally engage with anyone who wants to hear our perspective. We have found that stakeholders, including governments, are open to discussions privately, where they are open to objective discussions on different points of view. This will also continue to be the case in Web 3.0.
Would Meta, as a major media company, be interested, so to speak, in acquiring the broadcasting rights to IPL?
First, I do not think we are a media company. I think we collaborate with other media companies and I hope they have seen the value in leveraging our platforms. We do not consider ourselves a media company. I do not think we will build some special use cases. We think more in the sense that we can create frameworks and help with basic tools on both the software and hardware side that will allow other developers to create compelling use cases for the meta-verse. Meta’s role is fundamental in building the toolkits, enabling other partners and developers, and so in this context, we do not intend to bid on the IPL rights that will open in the coming weeks. It is the context of the role we see ourselves in building the meta-verse, and not because we believe that the IPL is not a fantasy property. I saw the power of IPL in building Hotstar.
As for Apple’s privacy changes, there is a global impact of $ 10 billion, which Meta said they will see as a result of the new policy. For India, could you provide qualitative or quantitative information on the impact observed by Meta?
There are no numbers to share. What we’ve been announcing publicly over the last few weeks, and what’s coming, we’ve clearly been working to ensure that some of the web conversion understatements that have arisen from Apple’s changes are addressed. It will continue. The only other thing to point out is that Apple or iOS is only a very small proportion of the total number of devices in India.
When it comes to the meta-verse, then, are there any products that you think are changing the shape of Web 3.0? Have you invested in any of them?
It really is an open canvas. I think the timing of this is very important. When the latest version of the internet appeared, we were at a very different stage as a country. Few people had logged in and the developer ecosystem was very early. This confidence, which has now forced itself thanks to the enormous entrepreneurial energy that has been unleashed in recent years, aided by international capital.
As a country, we now have the opportunity to shape the global metaverse. Now I do not think it’s about choosing a few categories. As a country, the opportunity is so great that we could not be better placed to create value for ourselves and for the world.
Some companies have started creating use cases. Are they pioneers in this unknown area of the metaverse, or are they jumping before they look?
I do not have a view on a particular company or a particular use case. We try to formulate our vision of what we are trying to build, the enabling program on the hardware or software side, and emphasize the desirability of building it patiently and consciously in the long run.