REAL REASONS BEHIND FACEBOOK'S NAME CHANGE
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” That is an excerpt from the inimitable wordsmith, William Shakespeare. It is taken from his play, Romeo and Juliet. It literarily conveys the idea that the naming of things are not as relevant as their functionality.
It is no longer news that Facebook, on Thursday announced its change of name to Meta. However, was it just nomenclature or semantics? Could there be underlining factors that led to the change? Which ever way the answer goes, how does it affect the millions of users in Africa in particular and worldwide in general?
This decision was formally reached at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference. The global brand said the new name "Reflects the Company's growing ambitions beyond social media."
This singular move is expected to make the social media App become and be managed like one of several products like Instagram and WhatsApp, under a bigger parent Company.
In American parlance, "That's how big firms roll". It is similar to what Google did when it became Alphabeth in 2015. What Mark Zuckerberg did is a regular feature in major businesses strategy books. It is called consolidation. It is a way to maximise gains and reduce risks.
First, they started Facebook, then Messenger, bought over competition like Instagram and WhatsApp. The next natural step is consolidation, by bringing all of these under a parent Company. Google, Amazon, GTbank have all gone this way in recent times.
Facebook had on Monday announced plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on the "Metaverse". What it described as a futuristic concept that blends the real world, augmented reality and virtual reality together".
"Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
In the new arrangement, “No one company will own and operate the metaverse. Like the internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability,” Facebook said.
“Bringing this to life will take collaboration and co-operation across companies, developers, creators and policymakers. For Facebook, it will also require continued investment in product and tech talent, as well as growth across the business.”
Although the new name is said to reflect the company's growing ambitions, it is also quite suspicious that it is coming right in the middle of the company's deep litigation issues over the past month, stemming from whistleblower, Frances Haugen's trove of internal documents.
Coupled with other allegations of personal user information mismanagement in the past, it is clear to industry experts that Mark Zuckerbeg and his legal goons are simply trying to kill two birds with one stone. One is to expand the business while the other is to seek a softer legal landing.
That's what big firms do. Facebook and Mark are about to be less liable for Facebook's data crimes. The App has been re-christened Meta. How successful is this move going to be? That will depend largely on the creativity and ingenuity of the name changers, going forward.
And how does it affect us the ordinary users? It is time to be more circumspect and intentional with our posts and how much information we put out there.
The internet doesn't forget. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are making conscious efforts to consolidate their positions by protecting themselves from seen and unseen circumstances. Social media users should do the same.
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