After weeks of speculation in what has been the worse kept secret, Facebook has announced that it is changing its name to Meta. When they say name change, they, of course, are referring to the corporate umbrella that is the company, not the facebook.com social network.
The move is akin to Google rebranding to Alphabet and other companies like BP renaming to Beyond Petroleum. Except, in the case of Google, they didn’t rebrand to escape controversy like Facebook, BP and Phillip Morris have done.
The name change signifies Facebook is moving in a new direction, away from its social media platform roots. They’ve been talking about a fantasy world called the Metaverse, in which people will interact with others virtually, visit virtual buildings and other stuff. It sounds incredible if not a tad Black Mirror creepy.
Despite the rebrand, the same old problems that plague Facebook will remain. And no, I am not just talking about the alarming number of baby boomers and anti-vaxxers that flock to the platform.
If Facebook can’t even get its current platform in order, can you imagine what this Metaverse will be like? A cesspool of hatred, anti-vaccine propaganda and boomers typing in all capital letters with ten exclamation marks at the end of each sentence. What will the tagline be for Metaverse? Racism and hatred: now in 3D form.
It might sound contradictory, but it could be exciting if they can pull off this Metaverse concept and not have it devolve into a toxic wasteland. I am picturing Habbo Hotel-esque avatars and 12-year-old kids shouting profanities when I think of the idea, but I guess technology has evolved a little since the early 2000s, right?
Still, despite my excitement of VR finally becoming a thing after years of false starts, the rebrand right now is nothing more than lipstick on a pig and case of the same shit, different smell. Facebook has a lot of work to do.