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A new name for Facebook can't escape its reputation

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

29 Oct 2021

Culture |Opinion

Image: Pexels

Back in 2019 Facebook changed its name to FACEBOOK. All big and bold letters, with extra curvature around the edges and a colour refresh to make it look more “empathetic.” The capital letters were meant to proudly “harmonise” the social media giant’s companies, with its re-design evoking “clarity and openness” it said at the time.

Of course however much it softened the corners of its letters, it didn’t dent the anti-trust investigations, when it was buried deep in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A critique written by the Guardian said “even peppering the logo with unicorns would not save the company’s image. But that won’t stop marketing teams from trying.”

Toxicity in the UX of its brands won’t disappear

Fast forward two years and amid another toxic scandal, this time from a whistleblower with insider knowledge, Facebook saw it as a perfect opportunity for another re-brand, although this time via a 360 degree name change. Perhaps hoping to swipe away any connotations that its apps continue to breach the privacy and safety of its users. Yet no guise of a new moniker can magically veil the issues, not even Meta, what the company calls its next evolution of social connection.

If Facebook, the parent company, needs a new name, the changing of it comes at a time of major controversy. When Google changed to Alphabet, it did so without any public image damage and when restructuring made sense beyond its world of search. Facebook’s issues of toxicity can’t be waived away with being called Meta and its new metaverses will inherit the same reputational damage unless these are fixed at their core.

Of course there is always the possibility to change Meta to META at the onset of another crisis.