Billionaire Barry Diller said there is something 'quite odd' in Mark Zuckerberg's decision to turn Facebook into Meta

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  • IAC founder Barry Diller said "something is quite odd" in Mark Zuckerberg's metaverse pivot.

  • The billionaire questioned Zuckerberg's decision to focus on tech that "doesn't yet exist."

  • Meta has shed over 70% of its value since the Facebook founder changed its 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 has "great respect" for Zuckerberg, but questioned the Facebook founder's decision to pivot toward the metaverse, a digital universe where users interact via avatars.

Diller has made billions in founding and investing in top media companies like Expedia Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting.  The 80-year-old is currently worth about $3.8 billion, per Forbes' World's Billionaires List.

"If you change the name of your company to something that doesn't yet exist to bury what does wildly exist successfully, something is quite odd in that," Diller said in an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box.

A spokesperson for Meta did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

After changing the name of Facebook's parent company to Meta last year, Zuckerberg has overhauled Facebook with a vision of creating a world where people connect in a digital universe using virtual and augmented reality devices. The Facebook founder has spent $15 billion so far on the project and has said that one day the metaverse will be the way that people "interact with the world."

But, critics have said the technology is just not there yet. Competitors like Snap and Apple have shied away from the term. Avatars in Meta's Horizon World's don't even have legs yet and many users have taken to social media to mock Meta's poor graphics.

At the same time, Meta's value has plummeted amid Zuckerberg's metaverse push as the company has shed over 70% of its value since the Facebook cofounder first announced the name change. Last month, Meta shares plummeted 24% after the company missed earnings targets and Zuckerberg said he intents to spend billions more on the metaverse project in the coming year — a decision that has left some investors reeling.

Ultimately, Diller said Zuckerberg would find more success if he stuck to Facebook's original vision.

"If he just paid attention to his basic businesses, I think all is well," Diller told CNBC. "Those businesses are great. They're great. I mean, built from nothing they're just fantastic businesses," he added, noting Facebook stands to face tremendous gains if TikTok is banned in the US — a move he thinks is highly probable.

Republican lawmakers have been working in recent months to revive former President Donald Trump's bid to ban TikTok over fears that US data is ending up in the hands of the Chinese government. Last week, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr told Axios regulatory agencies like the Council on Foreign Investment in the US should take action to ban the app which is owned by Chinese media company ByteDance.

At Meta, Zuckerberg has continually copied the popular video-app, rolling out features like Instragram Reels. In October, Zuckerberg referred to TikTok as a "very effective competitor."

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Read the original article on Business Insider