Facebook’s parent company has been renamed Meta, prompting ridicule alongside allegations that the company is attempting to deflect recent criticism.
Explaining the move, Mark Zuckerberg said the company was increasingly focusing on two different market segments – one with its family of apps, and another for its work on future platforms.
But critics have accused Facebook of attempting to distract attention from recent news reports and whistleblower testimonies that have, at their core, left the company facing accusations of putting profit before the wellbeing of its users.
Gonna take awhile to get used to saying “He was radicalized in a META group”
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 28, 2021
Senator Richard Blumenthal, who recently invited whistleblower Frances Haugen to testify before his sub-committee, said on Twitter: “You can run, but you can’t hide Facebook.
“A new nom de plume may confuse and distract, but won’t erase years of devious practices and disregard for privacy, kids’ wellbeing, spreading hate, and genocide,” he added.
Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “Meta as in ‘we are a cancer to democracy metastasising into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit!'”
Computer science researcher Matt Blaze referenced the change in the context of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” programme which officials, including in America, later described as a euphemism for torture under the George Bush administration.
Renaming “Facebook “Meta” solves the same kinds of problems that renaming “torture” “enhanced interrogation” did.
— matt blaze (@mattblaze) October 28, 2021
The Tonight Show’s account quipped: “This feels like when there’s an E. coli outbreak at a pizza place and they just change the name from ‘Sal and Tony’s’ to ‘Tony and Sal’s’.”
Facebook is Facebook. Don’t write about the name, write about what they do, because that’s what matters.
Paperwork doesn’t change the nature of a thing.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2021
Various celebrities, including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, urged people not to recognise the new name.
There was no shortage of other company accounts making variations of the same joke.
There was some expectation that the name change could see Mark Zuckerberg copy Eric Schmidt at Google, who stepped down as the CEO at the same time as becoming executive chairman of Alphabet.
However the 37-year-old Facebook founder said he would not be stepping down as Meta’s chief executive.
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