Let's get real: Facebook became a dirty word to many, so Zuckerberg just changed the name

The company's legacy includes privacy violations, enabling extremism, avoiding taxes, and crushing the media

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      When Mike Usinger writes about liquor for the Georgia Straight, he does something clever.

      He starts by offering the company's words about the product. Then he follows up with his own interpretation.

      I'm going to blatantly rip off this approach to deal with the name change that everyone is talking about today. The CEO of the social-media giant formerly known as Facebook declared that his company is now called Meta.

      What Mark Zuckerberg said: "To reflect who we are and what we hope to build, I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta.

      "Our mission remains the same. It's still about bringing people together. Our apps and their brands, they aren't changing either. And we are still the company that designs technology around people.

      "But now we have a new North Star to help bring the metaverse to life."

      What Mark Zuckerberg didn't say: "It costs oodles of money to change the name of a company but hey, I had no choice. Facebook has become a dirty word all over the world for promoting extremism, allowing posts that denigrate women and LGBT people in the Middle East, and tax avoidance, to name a few of our sins.

      "Facebook was also fined $5 billion for its repeated privacy violations. It sounds like a lot, I know, but to me, it was really the equivalent of a mosquito bite—a little bit irritating but easy to recover from.

      "What's more worrisome is that some politicians want to break up our great company. It looks like they're going to get some help from the Federal Trade Commission. Maybe that's because we've been linked to the demise of journalism and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. And now, the worst creeps who support Narendra Modi's BJP government in India have reportedly being using our platform to target Muslims, women, lower-caste people, and refugees. Modi is like the Trump of India.

      Video: The Polis Project's Suchitra Vijayan outlines how misinformation on social media has led to attacks in India.

      "It's clear to me, that Facebook has a serious branding problem. And it's only getting worse as a result of journalists like Mathew Ingram and Carole Cadwalladr, who've spent years exposing our company's foibles. I don't know why these people have such a problem with surveillance capitalism. 

      "So we changed our name. It's no big deal. Facebook is history, as far as our corporate brand is concerned. And that means we'll be less of a target for shareholder activists to rally around. Why is that? Because it will take years for people to hate the term Meta the way they hate Facebook. It just might get those privacy freaks off our backs, too.

      "There's a reason why I'm worth US$113.5 billion on the Forbes list. I'm really, really smart. Meta smart, in fact!"