Social Media

Facebook’s Meta move evokes smileys, frowns

Debangana Ghosh | | Updated on: Oct 29, 2021
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Facebook Inc’s rebranding as ‘Meta’ is an opportunistic move to gain the first mover’s advantage in the futuristic metaverse ecosystem, which is expected to take off in a big way next year. The name change could also be aimed at ring-fencing the company’s other brands including Instagram and WhatsApp given the ongoing investigation against Facebook based on allegations made by a whistleblower.

Independent communications strategy consultant Karthik Srinivasan said: “Facebook has been making a lot of investment in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology and has launched products like Oculus and RayBan glasses. They have been the most vocal and visible in terms of investments in the metaverse space. Five years from now, they will be known as the pioneers of the metaverse and so they just booked the name ‘Meta’.”

A lot of companies, including Apple and Microsoft, have been getting ready for the metaverse.

Umbrella brand

Under the new structure, there will not be any change in the name of Facebook as a social media platform. However, all brands including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram among other apps, which were hitherto under Facebook Inc, will now be under the Meta umbrella.

While the Meta move unleashed a wild meme fest on social media, with one user likening the brand’s new infinity logo to a rubber band – “Our new logo is a rubber band because our morals are elastic. Oh, and we stretch the truth…” – brand consultants were more charitable.

Harish Bijoor, Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults , said, “Under Meta, there are at least 20 other brands at the moment. It gives the jaded brand name a contemporary makeover and I have always felt a four-letter word or two-syllable word works even better. The logo, too, I feel is good. This will help Facebook reinstate itself under a new umbrella.”

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO of Greyhound Research, said Facebook has been facing placement and perception issues for the longest time. “It’s no longer just a social media app but people still call it that! The company wasn’t able to get other products off the ground given its positioning — so it (change in name) makes perfect sense,” Gogia said.

As for the large-scale trolling the name change elicited, Gogia said it was understandable. “Facebook has a lot of negativity that surrounds it in terms of privacy and other legal issues hence the memes were all too expected,” he said.

For instance, American public health scientist Eric Feigl-Ding wrote, “It’s me — a metastatic cancer on democracy & public health — Facebook.”

Published on October 29, 2021

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