Facebook, Meta and the Rebranding of Reality

Facebook…sorry, Meta, just can’t seem to be getting out of the spotlight this year. Phoebe Metcalfe asks us whether this rebrand is as cool as it looks.

Yesterday the company formerly known as Facebook announced a rebrand, with the new name Meta. Reportedly the apps owned and run by Meta will not change, so for now Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will remain the same, saving us a bit of confusion referring to both the company and the app.

Along with the rebrand, Mark Zuckerberg also announced their project Metaverse. The announcement video dropped provides the world with visuals we’ve seen before in futuristic movies and TV. But the weight of the reality an application like this offers is like nothing we’ve felt before.

You can see the highlights, and also Zuck finally fitting into his surroundings, here:

Although it is obvious the company has been putting a lot of work into the multiple applications and technologies it announced, the rebrand timing comes after a terrible year for Meta as a company, and one can’t help but think “is this supposed to distract me?”

Earlier this year the Australian Government decided to pick a fight with the Zuck, and after a short ban of news media from the platform for all Australians, the Government won.

Earlier this month former Facebook employee Frances Haugen announced herself as the whistleblower responsible for ‘The Facebook Files‘, a scathing series of reports by The Wall Street Journal based on internal documents.

“I came forward because I believe every human being deserves the dignity of the truth.”

Ms. Haugen also stated that as a company Meta has been utilising hate speech to promote online engagement by refusing to filter out the type of content that put members of the public at risk. Ms. Haugen later stated “Facebook has been unwilling to accept even little slivers of profit being sacrificed for safety”, and she warned that Instagram was “more dangerous than other forms of social media”.

“The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the US government and from governments around the world.”

“When we realized big tobacco was hiding the harms it caused the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action. And when our government learned that opioids were taking lives, the government took action. I implore you to do the same here.”

During the aftermath of this scandal on the 5th of October, the entire company went offline for six hours and inadvertently made the world aware of how reliant we have become on specific platforms to communicate, run businesses, receive important information, and function as a society. The fact that Meta has a monopoly of these platforms was knowledge we weren’t ready to swallow until we had to find alternatives.

Even the stock market understood the gravity of a company such as Meta failing, with a massive 5% drop in its stocks the same day.

We were warned last year through Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma that social media is not safe, so much so, senior employees of Meta do not let their own children have social media.

Although there are many positives of what the Zuck has announced, especially since we have all become accustomed to working at home and prioiritising ourselves, our mental health, and valuing human interaction and communication, one can’t help but wonder if the world is going to be “zucked” in to a Ready Player One/Black Mirror universe.

Feature Image by Josh Hild via Unsplash

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