Facebook announced on Thursday that it is changing its name to Meta, in order to create a corporate umbrella and express what they are focusing on for the future, i.e., the “Metaverse,” which appears to be virtual reality goggles for teenagers, although they say it is the very future of computing.
Mark Zuckerberg claims this has nothing to do with Facebook’s current or past troubles, and told one tech reporter he went through quite a bit of introspection, deciding that if he were running away from something he wouldn’t do it.
Yeah, Mark, just tell us which names to use on the lawsuits that are no doubt coming your way.
Although the credulous tech community appears to have bought this story whole, and reject any suggestion that this is like Phillip Morris changing its name to Altria in 2003, that’s exactly what it is. One so-called analyst said that Zuck simply wants to turn the page and focus on the future.
Well, sorry Mark, but this isn’t Harvard, or even the early days of The Facebook, as it was once called. This is big-league billions—of users and dollars—and you don’t get to wash your hands of it all and go sailing, or ascend to the Metaverse and work on the newest and greatest dweeb experience. People have been injured, elections have been interfered with, and a whole new generation of dangerous hooligans has been unleashed on the world, thanks to your witches’ brew of algorithms, black boxes, misrepresentations and outright lies.
One analyst, who appeared to be over 40 and to have some measure of sense, told CNBC that he thinks Facebook should reveal its algorithms. Now that is a splendid idea! Fat chance, though.
Zuckerberg has tried everything except changing. He has testified before Congress, sent Snow White Sandberg to testify, made large charitable donations, and spoken repeatedly about how he just wants a clear set of rules to follow (and use his army of lobbyists and lawyers to bend to his liking). But he won’t change, and he won’t give up any power at the company he claims to have founded singlehandedly, the way Trump claimed to be a self-made billionaire. Nothing about this name change represents any real change. That is reflected in the fact that it is to happen by December 1st. Hey, slap the new name and logo (which looks like a car company) on everything, spend a few billion on re-branding, and we’re set for a new future.
I believe Facebook should have changed its name to Gekko. Gordon Gekko would have absolutely loved Facebook, a money machine with nobody regulating it and no one trying to send him to prison.
Bill Huey is president of Strategic Communications and the author of Carbon Man (Kindle, 2010).