“You cannot fool all the people all the time.” This wisdom seems to evade Mark Zuckerberg because that is what he is attempting to do by changing the name of his company from Facebook to Meta.
The tech giant changed its logo from the usual thumbs up to a blue infinity. Mark says the new name and the new logo epitomizes the company’s vision for the future and it encompasses everything the company does. However, the rebranding would not change the company structure. This is not some big bang corporate structural reform or a revamp.
Mark is trying to put all his companies under one roof. Facebook is centralizing all its brands under one name. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp would now be under one single parent holding company called Meta.
Mark insists that it would still be the company that designs technology around people. Building new and better social media apps will continue to remain one of the focus areas of the rebranded company as well. Mark feels that Facebook as a company is so tightly linked to one product that it cannot represent all the things that the company does today. Mark says this is the beginning of their project called metaverse.
Industry sources say metaverse might sound like science fiction. It can be seen as the next stage of the internet. A virtual parallel world that never stops. A world where everything is digital—an alternative digital life. It is what is called embodied internet where you can have series of experiences using virtual reality and augmented reality.
This reminds us of the Hollywood blockbuster “Matrix.” It would take 10 to 15 years to build this metaverse. Facebook plans to spend at least 10 billion dollars this year on related apps as it builds the metaverse. Facebook also announced 50 million dollars investment in global research to build the metaverse. Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people in Europe along to work on the project over the next five years.
Facebook is a great name for a social medical company. Then why does Mark want to change it. Facebook has been facing scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers. A former employee of Facebook Frances Haugen has made startling revelations about the malpractices going on in the company. She has leaked internal documents that claim that Facebook chose profit over user safety. This has severely tarnished the image of the company.
Mark is attempting to erase all that from public memory by changing the name of the company. Facebook is trying to distract attention by indulging in name change. But taking recourse to Shakespeare who said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose would smell as sweet by any other name.” Facebook with a new name and a new logo would still be the same company with the same Mark at the helm of affairs.
So does this name change has any significance except that it is just a PR stunt. Can we expect a new work ethic and work culture?
Facebook is a social media giant with 3 billion monthly users. Facebook has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been accused of data theft, tax evasion, privacy breaches and something as ominous as encouraging violence by promoting religious polarization using its social media platforms. Facebook is also known to harvest data as well as refuses to remove fake news. These are the real problems with Facebook and not its name.
Last month, Facebook came to know that Instagram users who were mostly teenagers were vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It had become a toxic place for teenagers, especially girls. In spite of such severe side effects of its social media, Facebook did not take any corrective measure. It is only interested in generating more advertisement revenue for itself. The well being of its users does not matter to it at all.
Many corporate honchos feel that Mark Zuckerberg is the problem. If Facebook needs anything then it is a leadership change and not a name change. Mark is the trouble maker testifying before Congress that he would make the necessary changes but never does. This is a great publicity gimmick. Let us see how this pans out.
Edited by Anupama Roy