Facebook has always been a go-to social media site to spend time—and sometimes way too much of it. Now, it’s hoping to give you something else to spend: its own cryptocurrency.
That’s right, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. hope to create a bitcoin-like digital monetary system called Libra. And it’s partnering with businesses such as PayPal, Uber, Visa and Mastercard to make it happen.
Why? According to CBS, it’s all about generating new revenue streams and (cue ominous music) gathering ever more data from its users. But even though having your own currency certainly comes with some bottom-line benefits, lots of folks wonder whether Facebook’s move could have others seeing red. Keep in mind, Facebook now boasts nearly 1.8 billion users—more people than live in any single country on earth. That means Facebook’s Libra could potentially shake national currencies and upend the banking business. U.S. politicians are already furious about Facebook’s intentions, given what one congressional representative called “the company’s troubled past.” And lots of experts say the move will only increase the scrutiny on an already-scrutinized social media behemoth“I am not sure that this is the smartest thing for Facebook to be doing,” Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told CBS News.
And it’s not like Facebook has been twiddling its thumbs, waiting for another public relations debacle to hit. After it declined to remove deepfake videos of politicians and celebrities, someone posted a deepfake of Zuckerberg himself. “Imagine this for a second,” the fake Zuckerberg says. “One man with total control of billions of people’s stolen data. All their secrets, their lives, their futures.” (True to its stated policies on such matters, Facebook left the video up on its affiliate, Instagram.) Meanwhile, the organization is still being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission regarding its privacy policies, with advocates pressuring Facebook to release some emails that (critics say) may violate some conditions of the FTC’s investigation.
So Facebook wants our money. It wants our data. And now, apparently, it wants our very blood! Oh, no, wait. Never mind. It’s just encouraging users to donate blood. My bad.
Perhaps with all its online muscle, Facebook could do something to help bolster cinematic comedy. Movies designed to make audiences laugh are causing their makers to shed bitter tears of economic disappointment when their box-office receipts are tallied. Some blame Netflix, which has locked up some big names. Adam Sandler’s and Jennifer Aniston’s Netflix-based Murder Mystery, for instance, just might be setting Netflix ratings records. But The Hollywood Reporter notes that the streaming service may just be filling a hole left open by the Hollywood studios themselves, which increasingly shun mid-budget fare in favor of tentpole blockbusters.
(‘Course, if anyone asked Plugged In, we might suggest that if Hollywood concentrated on some more family-friendly laughers instead of ever-more risqué R-rated comedies, audiences might be receptive …)
Maybe potential moviegoers are too busy watching Taylor Swift’s LGBTQ-friendly video to “You Need to Calm Down.” (Some people are greeting the vid with celebration, while others suggest that Swift probably shouldn’t have compared the downside of fame to homophobia. And The Federalist called Swift on the carpet, calling the song “breathtakingly elitist.”)
Or perhaps they’re too busy standing in theme-park lines to cue up at a theater. (Some apparently waited 10 hours to ride the new Harry Potter roller coaster at Universal Orlando. Rides at Disney’s Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge haven’t seen those sorts of lines—but maybe because Disney has been limiting the time visitors can stay in the attraction to four hours in an effort to limit overcrowding. )
Let’s hope, though, they’re not reading Teen Vogue. The magazine recently offered some advice to its underage readers on how to get an abortion without telling their parents. Oh, and just for good measure, it suggested that youngsters should really consider prostitution as a potential career.
Meanwhile, teens are facing far more serious problems than morally questionable career choices. Studies show that Americans are dying from suicide, alcohol and drugs at rates never seen before, and many victims are teens and young adults. Indeed, Time suggests that Millennials are succumbing to “deaths of despair” in record numbers.
So you know what the world could use? More Keanu Reeves.
Well, that’s what the Internet says, anyway.
The star is definitely having a moment (a Keanu-sance?), what with his blockbuster John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, his very funny turn in Toy Story 4 and his appearance at the E3 video game conference. But even that seems to pale in comparison to the love shown online for him—literally dubbing him the “internet’s newest boyfriend.” When told, Reeves himself answered in a very Keanu-like way. “That’s wacky,” he told People.
But hey. In a world where a social media site can create its own currency, anything can happen.