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Thomas Gallatin / October 28, 2021

Facebook’s Fake Metaverse Facelift

Zuckerberg’s name change of his social media giant seems all about saving face.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that the social media giant would soon be changing its name. Zuckerberg claimed that his rationale for this decision was to “transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” In other words, as he’s been expanding his company into other ventures, he wants to reframe the image of his company beyond being merely social media. Today social media, tomorrow the … metaverse?

Well, he announced today that he’s chosen: “I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta.”

The name change will be regarding Facebook Inc., siimilar to how Google changed its corporate name to Alphabet Inc. Each site — Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and others — will keep its name under a new parent company name.

“Our mission remains the same still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing either,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re still the company that designs technology around people, now we have a new North Star to help bring the metaverse to life, and we have a new name that reflects the full breadth of what we do and the future that we want to help build.”

There’s likely another more pressing reason for Zuckerberg’s sudden announcement: Damage control. It’s no secret that Facebook’s brand is increasingly viewed by the majority of the public in a negative light. A former employee “whistleblower’s” testimony before Congress only served to give Zuckerberg’s company a black eye, as Facebook was accused of exploiting users even after determining that its algorithms were producing negative psychological impact. The “whistleblower’s” goal of more censorship is noxious, but she’s not wrong about the negative effects Facebook can have.

Meanwhile, conservative outlets like our humble little shop have long noted Facebook’s efforts to suppress and outright censor conservative content. In fact, more whistleblowers have revealed discussions and efforts to develop more means to censor right-wing stories and sites.

As a result, both political parties appear to have it out for Facebook, though — as we have repeatedly observed — for very different reasons. Republicans complain about the social media giant infringing on users’ free speech due to its censorship practices, whereas Democrats complain that Facebook is not doing enough censorship of conservative content.

Perhaps Zuckerberg would love nothing better than to disassociate his company from its declining public image. Facebook’s name is now mud, so the quick solution is to … get a new name. By renaming, he aims to give Facebook the appearance of a real transition without any significant change. After all, engaging in any real changes like ending censorship practices or getting rid of the targeted “news feed” algorithm that effectively shadow-bans conservative content is a bridge too far.

(Updated.)

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