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Internet Dunks on Facebook for Prioritizing “Meta” Virtual Reality Rebranding Over Safety

Meta ain't any betta.

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg next to two tweets making fun of META name change. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, screenshots.)

In an effort to shed its terrible reputation (consisting of misinformation, selling user data, and much more), founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook—the company, not the service itself—is renaming itself to Meta. In addition to the rename, the company is continuing to promote its VR and AR technology. For workspaces (ew) and to hang out … I guess? Who knows?

What we do know for sure is that this is the same company that …

  • choose to let hateful content (linked to real hate crimes and genocide) slide for engagement numbers.
  • divested from workgroups and programs that would tackle the harmful ways Meta’s products are harming societies globally.
  • under employ translators (leading to violence and rising nationalism) even among the most spoken languages in the world (Spanish, Arabic, etc.).
  • lie to investors and the public about the effect Instagram was having on children, especially young girls.
  • has employees using back end information to stalk exes.
  • allows misinformation ads from verified users on things as simple as targeting marginalized voters with incorrect information on which day to vote.
  • (speaking of information) sell user data to operations and firms that work with politicians (Cambridge Analytica).

There is more, but do I need to continue?

While it’s easy to say this is because of the recent files shared by whistleblower Frances Haugen, I think this was inevitable. They’ve been desperate to rebrand since 2016 and especially after 2018. Because a majority of Congress couldn’t pass a basic media or computer literacy test (even if given advance notice), it’s likely nothing will be done.

It is up to other governing bodies of equal or greater power (like the European Union) to pass regulations, hopefully so sweeping Facebook won’t be able to apply it to a specific region. Also, hopefully, those laws apply to the platforms and not the company and prevent a loophole like a stupid name change from unraveling the legislation.

Oh, and there is one more thing we can do: make fun of how ludicrous this all is.

Laughing through our dystopian present

Let’s be real, they could’ve named it something unique and brand-friendly, and these jokes would’ve continued.

While the company will be renamed to Meta and the platform Facebook will stay named “Facebook,” the jokes about older family members (susceptible to radicalization) being confused or worried about the change continued anyways. Others confused (because the announcement was a mess) seemed concerned.

Several trans individuals pointed out that, per Facebook’s own requirements, they would reciprocate by refusing to call the company Meta. That is, of course, until the paperwork is shown. (Even then, it is far easier for a company to change their name and have that respected than an actual human being.)

Unintended consequences

Like Facebook as a platform, this rebranding is going to lead to some unwanted outcomes we can see from a mile away, which makes me wonder … was Zuck so pressed on this that he ignored these concerns, or does he surround himself with just “yes men”?

Even 4chan is taking this as an opportunity to say “shove it” despite much of their content ending up on Meta’s platforms anyways.

Beyond this messy Facebook Meta

The name alone wasn’t the only thing dunked on, but the rest wasn’t really new, either. The video (we highlighted yesterday in Things We Saw Today) was very cringey because the Zuck continues to be the face of Facebo—I mean Meta. I’m not even talking about the reptilian jokes steeped in antisemitism, just how awkward he is.

In all seriousness, please consider media literate candidates at every level of government when voting. Also, consider divesting from Meta properties if allowed (Instagram, What’s App, Messenger, etc.). I say “if allowed” because they have really built a whole monster that is still necessary for many businesses and connecting with those abroad.

(via Twitter, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and screenshots)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time watching movies, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Balder's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO.