Internet Delights in Mocking Facebook's New Name

'Changing name to Meat,' Wendy's quips
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2021 7:06 AM CDT
Facebook Mocked Over 'Meta' Name Change
Facebook unveiled their new Meta sign at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.   (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Facebook has been accused of driving people apart—but commentators were near-unified in mocking the company after CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed its new virtual-reality focused name Thursday. There were countless jokes about the name Meta, as well as concerns about what Zuckerberg is planning for what he calls the "next chapter of social connection." The embattled CEO said Meta will be the name for the company behind Facebook and other apps including Instagram and WhatsApp, and the VR brand Oculus. More:

  • Late-night weighs in. "That’s right, 'Meta,' as in your Aunt Gloria saying, 'I Meta guy on Facebook who says the vaccine made his balls magnetic,'" joked Stephen Colbert, per the New York Times. Jimmy Fallon joked: "Yeah, Facebook changed their name. In response, Spectrum was like, 'We used to be Time Warner; people still hate us.'"
  • Burned by Wendy's. "Changing name to Meat," the burger chain tweeted.

  • "Like renaming torture." CNN reports that many of the jokes took a dark turn. "Renaming Facebook 'Meta' solves the same kinds of problems that renaming 'torture' 'enhanced interrogation' did," tweeted scientist Matt Blaze.
  • "Nobody asked for this new feature." The Daily Show tweeted a video with footage of Zuckerberg praising VR's ability to provide an "incredibly inspiring view of whatever you find most beautiful" superimposed on footage of the Capital riot and the Charlottesville white nationalist march, which were both organized on Facebook, per the Guardian.
  • "Thought this was satire." rounds up more reactions, including a tweet from from sociology professor Tressie McMillan Cottom: "Honest to god thought this was satire. Honest to god. This is the kind of pseudonym they give tech companies in Hallmark movies because it’s so ridiculously fake."

  • A common corporate tactic. Phil Davis at Tungsten Branding tells the Wall Street Journal that changes in name are common when a large company scales up, as when Apple Inc. dropped "Computer" from its name in 2007, but the move doesn't always work. "If you say we’re shifting the direction, there has to be an actual shift in direction," he says, noting that Radio Shack's change to The Shack didn't turn the company around.
  • Shares in unrelated Meta company spike. CNBC reports that shares in Meta Materials, a Canadian tech company with no connection to Facebook, surged 25% in after-hours trading following Zuckerberg's announcement. CEO George Palikaras said he would like to "cordially welcome Facebook to the metaverse."
  • Zuckerberg might not be the one to run the metaverse. Rizwan Virk at NBC looks at the metaverse—which he describes as a "connected set of immersive virtual experiences that you explore online via your three-dimensional avatar," and explains why Facebook's attempt to be the "on-ramp" might fail in the same way that Microsoft's attempts to dominate the Internet did.
  • AOC's take. "Meta as in 'we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit!'" tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
(Read more Facebook stories.)

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