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Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Wash Away Facebook’s Toxic Image With a Rebrand

It’s been a tricky run for Fb of late: A string of damning reports have earned it comparisons to Massive Tobacco; a massive outage, the day after a whistleblower’s primetime 60 Minutes interview, underscored its fallibility; and a want to rein within the firm sparked uncommon bipartisan settlement in Congress. We might reside in divided instances, however the near-universal response upon listening to the phrase “Fb” has turn into: Ugh.

Mark Zuckerberg, regardless of his delusions of grandeur, appears to pay attention to how poisonous his model has turn into. However quite than absolutely tackle the substance of the issues, he has reportedly provide you with a less complicated resolution: Folks despise Fb? What if we merely…cease calling ourselves “Fb?” In response to the Verge, Zuckerberg is planning a rebrand: By subsequent week, Fb will probably be only one a part of an even bigger firm, with a model new identify, that isn’t simply targeted on social media, however the “metaverse” he desires to construct. No official phrase but on what the identify will probably be, however “Horizon” has apparently been floated as a risk, and Samidh Chakrabarti, the corporate’s former head of civic integrity, speculated that the “meta” itself could possibly be the identify; as Bloomberg noted, “meta.com” presently redirects to “meta.org,” the web site for a biomedical analysis device developed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

There’s precedent for this type of shift: Google rebranded underneath the umbrella of Alphabet; Snapchat grew to become Snap Inc. to ascertain that it was not only a messaging app, however an organization that additionally needed to promote you probably the most dystopian eyeglasses imaginable. However Fb’s coming identify change is notable for the timing, with the corporate underneath extra intense scrutiny than it has maybe ever confronted, and for what it says about the place Zuckerberg intends to take the corporate. He’s made clear that his ambitions transcend social media; just some months in the past, he told the Verge that “we’ll successfully transition from folks seeing us primarily being a social media firm to being a metaverse firm” within the coming years. That shift appears to be accelerating: On Sunday, the corporate introduced it was hiring 10,000 folks in Europe to assist construct its metaverse, which it has—predictably — forged in utopian phrases. “At its coronary heart is the concept by making a larger sense of ‘digital presence,’ interacting on-line can turn into a lot nearer to the expertise of interacting in particular person,” Nick Clegg and Javier Olivan wrote in a statement. “The metaverse has the potential to assist unlock entry to new artistic, social and financial alternatives.”

Ah, however will it? Fb insinuated its method into tens of millions of peoples’ lives on a equally optimistic promise; over the past decade, although, we’ve watched as this supposed device of interconnectedness promoted hate and conspiracy theories, exacerbated divisions, and turned in any other case regular folks into compulsive scrollers and posters. The notion that what’s lacking from modern life is extra Fb appears absurd. However such is the manifest future of Mark Zuckerberg, simply one in all an more and more out-of-touch class of tech barons who appear to have satisfied themselves that we would finest remedy the problems dealing with our planet by blasting off to a new one and enhance our present actuality by augmenting it. Zuckerberg hasn’t even been capable of justify the existence of Fb in this actuality; now, he’s intent on imposing its dominance on the meta-reality he desires to usher in, whether or not anybody desires it or not. This, in fact, has at all times been on the core of Fb’s issues: an unchecked hubris that may’t be masked by a brand new identify.

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