Meta has surprised the tech community by announcing that it will end support for NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. This move is unexpected, given the company’s strong push to adopt digital collectibles across its platforms over the past year. Meta’s decision to end support for NFTs is expected to occur in less than a year.
Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce and financial technology, announced the decision to suspend digital collectibles via Twitter. Meta spokesperson Joshua Gunter confirmed the news via email to The Verge. Kasriel stated that the company would focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses. The company aims to use the knowledge gained from its NFT experiment to develop other products that support people and businesses.
This decision comes almost a year after Mark Zuckerberg announced at SXSW that Instagram was working on NFT support. NFTs debuted on Instagram in May 2022, and the company announced a significant feature expansion in November. The plan was to allow creators to build and sell collectible items directly on Instagram.
The reason for Meta’s sudden shift in policy on NFTs remains unclear. It is surprising, given that Zuckerberg had hinted that NFTs could play a role in the company’s Metaverse plans. In an interview at SXSW last year, Zuckerberg stated that avatars wearing clothes in the Metaverse could be minted as NFTs and carried between different places.
Meta’s decision to end support for NFTs is not the only once-ambitious initiative to fall through the cracks in the past year. The company has shut down Novi, a crypto wallet rumoured to have NFT support on its roadmap. The company is also cutting projects from its metaverse arm, Reality Labs, and a program that rewards Reels creators.
The decision to end support for NFTs is likely related to Meta’s recent efforts to become more efficient. The company has been laying off thousands of employees and shutting down dozens of projects. In his announcement, Zuckerberg described 2022 as a “year of efficiency.”