Milkshakes off, Biden agenda on and meeting up in Facebook metaverse

Planet Business: Dark world of OnlyFans and an early Christmas warning

Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms: Don’t be late for your  ‘mixed reality’ concept meeting. Or else your beloved colleagues will eat all the  virtual pizza. Photograph: Facebook/PA

Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms: Don’t be late for your ‘mixed reality’ concept meeting. Or else your beloved colleagues will eat all the virtual pizza. Photograph: Facebook/PA

 

Image of the week: Metaverse boardroom

Facebook’s pursuit of its “metaverse” ambitions continues apace with its introduction of the “Horizon Workrooms” concept. This seeks to “reimagine” remote collaboration via the magic of Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality headsets. Horizon is a “mixed reality” experience that lets you bring your physical desks and compatible keyboards into a virtual room, helping you “feel like you’re really there with your colleagues”, according to Facebook, just like in the Before Times. Each workroom offers “infinite whiteboard space” for those fans of infinite brainstorming among us, while the seating layouts can be configured to suit your boss’s hierarchical needs. The good news is the Horizon Workroom meeting pictured is clearly following the Jeff Bezos “two pizza” rule that states that no meeting should be attended by more people than can be fed with two pizzas. The bad news is that any pizza is strictly virtual.

In numbers: Milkshake it off

1,250

McDonald’s restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales, where it temporarily ran out of milkshakes and some bottled drinks earlier this week due to “the nationwide shortage of HGV drivers”.

4

Varieties of McDonald’s milkshake – chocolate, vanilla, banana and strawberry – available in normal times (and also in Ireland).

100,000

Estimated shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers in post-Brexit Britain, according to a survey by the UK’s Road Haulage Association, prompting Iceland boss Richard Walker to warn of the risk of another “cancelled” Christmas.

Getting to know: Tim Stokely

Tim Stokely is the British founder of OnlyFans, the online platform that recently prompted a hoo-ha by banning the pornography that was its hallmark, only to reverse the decision days later. The original move was all the result of “unfair” treatment, according to Stokely, who told the Financial Times that OnlyFans was left with no choice after the banks refused to handle payments connected to its site, citing reputational risk. Stokely also denied that policy change came about in the first instance because OnlyFans was seeking new investors: its majority owner is a Ukrainian-American porn baron called Leonid Radvinsky, estimated to be a newly minted billionaire thanks to the site’s popularity, and he has been looking to offload part of his stake. In Stokely’s view, the now-abandoned plan for a porn crackdown wasn’t just the banks’ fault though, it was the media’s too, as its investigations into “incidents of illegal content” (the kind that involves children) on OnlyFans didn’t always mention that other social media platforms wrestle with the same depressing phenomenon.

The list: Biden’s budget

In some good news for US president Joe “don’t blame me for Afghanistan” Biden, Congress has passed his $3.5 trillion budget resolution, meaning his economic plans can now become reality. But what does the Biden agenda look like again?

1. Climate change. A Civilian Climate Corps employing thousands of young people would be put to work on environmental projects to fix the damage done by previous generations.

2. Healthcare. The US is still grappling with the whole healthcare thing, but it looks as if its Medicare scheme will be expanded to include dental, hearing and vision benefits.

3. Universal preschool. Government-funded preschool (or “pre-k”) programmes will be introduced for three to four year olds to keep them away from Disney Plus.

4. Cybersecurity infrastructure. Investments in cybersecurity are also part of the Biden blueprint, because we all know what not investing in cybersecurity looks like.

5. Tax. In a radical development, high-income individuals may be taxed more to pay for a society that functions just that little bit better.

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