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Facebook plans to change its name as part of company rebrand (theguardian.com)
331 points by schleck8 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 512 comments

Imagine if instead of or in addition to changing the name of the corporation, its head changed his whole ethos.

Imagine if he learned the value and intrinsic satisfaction of facilitating happiness, respect, and connection to humanity, and made these the central tenets of the platform.

Imagine if profitability fell a little, but not enough to stop the new ethos.

They can hire 20k engineers to build a doomed-to-fail metaverse that most of the world neither wants nor understands, but they can't dedicate the same headcount to making their platform healthier.


They have no duty whatsoever to make their platform healthier, and honestly it's getting repetitive, hearing people bemoan a completely-optional-to-your-life social media company for being too good at getting people to talk to one another.

And no, there is no possible argument you could make that says you must use Facebook because of anything Facebook has done except be extremely valuable and easy to use for its users.

Nobody has to use WhatsApp, nobody has to use Instagram, they choose to because other people decided to use them. It's not Facebook's fault entire governments decided to run out of WhatsApp, and those governments/your friends could switch to/add on a different platform if they wanted to, they just don't because what Facebook offers for free (the network) is a lot better than what other technology offers.

The analogy that comes to my mind is as if all of my friends and family and customers and employers did heroin. Yes, I could choose not to do heroin, and yet, staying around those people, the likelihood of me continuing to use heroin is high (pun intended) so I could continue to fit in. One of the best ways to stop using heroin is to disconnect from those friends and family.

So yes, they may be completely-optional-to-my-life in terms of using it directly, and yet choosing to not use them often means disconnecting from people not just on those platforms but in life in general.

An example that's almost the opposite: I traveled a lot overseas and my close group of American friends would use an SMS chat group to stay in touch. While overseas, I'd use a local sim and couldn't receive the group texts. I wanted them to switch to Whatsapp or a similar platform that would work over the internet. A few of them refused. So they stayed on the platform and I felt myself becoming more distant from them, not just in texts but in general. I felt a very similar disconnect after I deleted my FB account a few years back, and then again, after I built a new FB account and muted all of my FB friends.

At some point, I think a company becomes so large and integrated into society that it becomes a pseudo-monopoly and often in the US we treat those as public utilities. Yes, I think I could live without electricity in my city, and yet the electric company would still impact my life.

Facebook is not as bad as heroin. Facebook is not as necessary as electricity. It's insane to me that this is where we are in the discourse, that those are the analogies being used to describe one of dozens of ways to communicate with others.

The sad reality is that if it weren't Facebook, it'd be Twitter. If it weren't Twitter, it'd be TikTok, and so on. The people you're mad at aren't the companies making it easier to communicate, it's the people doing the communicating, and they're doing the communicating on whatever platform becomes most popular.

You may be mad at the users for not... I dunno, saying better things on these platforms, and you're seemingly taking it out on the platform. You're mad at society, and you channel it through to the services that society uses.

Facebook is not causing any of the problems you're upset about, it's just the platform where those problems are manifesting. It's still just a product, and if something better comes along, people will switch to the better thing. Network effects are real, but they're not permanent or impenetrable.

>Facebook is not as necessary as electricity. It's insane to me that this is where we are in the discourse, that those are the analogies being used to describe one of dozens of ways to communicate with others.

Once again, this is a very Western-centric point of view.

No, Facebook/WhatsApp is a choice various countries and cultures made, and that choice can be unmade. You can't un-make the choice to adopt electricity, you can make the choice to support Signal or Telegram or MMS or whatever.

Again, your complaint is about people. You don't like a choice they made, but it was a choice those people made and continue to make.

>You can't un-make the choice to adopt electricity, you can make the choice to support Signal or Telegram or MMS or whatever.

But... you absolutely can. This is getting pointless. You're not going to be convinced, nor are you willing to engage in any meaningful dialogue here.

> They have no duty whatsoever to make their platform healthier,

You could say the same thing about any addictive substance. And yet I doubt people would argue that controlling substance abuse is a bad thing.

For better or worse Facebook has made a thing that through the sum of its parts is harmful to society. I doubt any specific line-level engineer or product planner ever intentionally decided to end up with this end product, but here we are.

> hearing people bemoan a completely-optional-to-your-life social media company for being too good at getting people to talk to one another.

The issue isn't that it's getting people to talk with one another, it's that it encourages negative engagement.

The same thing happens with news - people are enraptured with gossip and death and will watch that more than something less salacious. But FB has scale and targeting unmatched by any other service. Google probably had a "and there but for the grace of god go we" moment - their search results probably has/had similar problems but hasn't incurred as much outrage. If Google Plus actually succeeded maybe they'd be the ones in the hot seat today.

> They have no duty whatsoever to make their platform healthier...

Of course they do. They may have no legal duty to behave morally, but they, like everyone else, still have a moral duty to behave morally.

> for being too good at getting people to talk to one another.

Not sure if you’ve been on FB in recent years, but people aren’t really talking to each other so much as they are spewing into a void. By far, the most common p2p interaction is arguing between strangers. Facebook is actually terrible at its initial premise of connecting people who know each other IRL, or those who might want to.

Your comment brings up a point that actually bothers me the most about this discussion -- the delusion we all seem to have that Facebook conversations are Very Super Bad, and if only we could pry Facebook out of the hands of the naive, dumb little users, they'd be free from the spell Facebook has cast on them and start posting insightful, kind, witty writing again.

No, super duper no. People are shouting into the void because there's a burning need for humans to shout into voids. If it weren't Facebook's void, it'd be some other void. The common denominator here is people.

Human brains validate their existences by communicating, and Facebook built the most effective communication tool that's ever been created. It's not Facebook's fault that most people aren't able to create anything other than hateful shouting.

I’ve been a Facebook user since 2008. I regularly use it today. I don’t consider myself or any of my Facebook friends “naive, dumb little users.” The interactions on Facebook in, say, 2010 were decidedly less awful than they are today. In 2010, my news feed was composed primarily of content from my Facebook friends, or pages I specifically followed. It was fun. Old connections from my childhood church, etc. would comment on a photo and we’d chat. Someone would post a status, and I’d reply. I don’t think human nature has shifted very dramatically in a decade. The platform influences what interactions happen. I’m not making an appeal to technological determinism; people are people. But Facebook is not an impartial middleman that is only “connecting” people.

There is no duty for a corporation to be ethical, sure. Arguably, the incentives to produce endless profit and growth drive the opposite. But the decision to be unethical says something about that company's leadership and their values. I mean -- their motto was literally "Move fast and break things." What could go wrong?

Further, this strikes me as a very Western-centric argument, particularly with WhatsApp. WhatsApp is nearly infrastructure in many countries outside the US, and your argument approaches saying "nobody has to use the Internet" -- which I suppose is true? But strikes me as being similar to saying "nobody has to have electricity."

You also seem to frame Facebook as somehow unwittingly finding itself in a position of power through WhatsApp, instead of that being a multi-year strategic campaign through marketing and their free-Internet push in the developing world (but only for FB's walled garden, which is clearly anti-competitive).

Facebook has incredibly destructive impact on my society, on my government, even if I never use it (which I don’t).

The U.S. is currently engaged in two major crises: is our democratic system of government legitimate, and how do we deal with a pandemic?

In both cases, Facebook’s algorithm is encouraging divisiveness in the name of engagement.

And what responsibility do the users have?

I'm no fan of FB but it's absurd to say their algorithms encourage divisiveness. Their algorithms have no concept of divisiveness, they are simply fitting their cost function which is engagement (well, proxies for engagement). It just so turns out that a lot of people in society want echo chambers where their pre-existing views can be strengthened and validated...that's what is causing divisiveness.

I'm not really sure what FB is supposed to do. Does a fast food company have a responsibility to ensure that people are eating a healthy diet? Where do we draw the line?

> Their algorithms have no concept of divisiveness, they are simply fitting their cost function which is engagement (well, proxies for engagement).

Which can absolutely be a proxy for divisiveness.

Two things:

Network effects are real. I would not continue to use Whatsapp unless other people were on it. It got big before Facebook bought them and has dwindled (in my book) ever since. The network effect applies to a lot of things, from the internet to telephones to bars.

Addictive dark patterns are a thing. Facebook is armed with a metric asston of computational power that is all dedicated to getting you to keep hanging out on it, feeding your dopamine cycles, coaxing you in with candy, and distorting reality around you. It is in fact, these myriad reality distortion fields that is its primary path to ad revenue.

> what Facebook offers for free

Because it has hundreds of billions in its bank and sucks in tens of billions of ad revenue. Little competitors cannot do either of those.

Well lets see how well that attitude works out for them. They are barely addressing the problem currently so unless some serious changes are made governments will simply force their hand and compel real moderation of the content they allow as a media company.

No one HAS to look at gore or CP in their feed, they can block that "friend". So why does Facebook bother to remove such content (rhetorical question, i realise the implications of them allowing CP)?

> completely-optional-to-your-life

During the fires last year, my county used their Facebook page as the official place to get current info about fire status. The info on the actual county website was copy/pasted from Facebook, with a significant time lag.

But, yeah, sure, we choose to use Facebook...

Sounds like you should complain to your county and not to Facebook.

Absolutely correct. That issue is all about the county, not Facebook. But when the response to unrelated complaints about Facebook is just "you don't have to use it"... Sure, it's not Facebook's fault that you have to use it. But use it, you must.

Its unhealthiness directly correlates to its profitability, so nothing to do with capability.

> but they can't dedicate the same headcount to making their platform healthier

A FB recruiter contacted me a few years ago to ask me about leading a "new anti-abuse team." At the time, I merely had a bad taste in my mouth for the company, but I figured if they were trying to combat abuse, it was worthy of having a conversation.

TLDR, the interview was a standard normal ML loop with no talk about abuse reduction. When I brought it up, they just talked up my experience and wanted to focus on that. Nice bait-and-switch. One interviewer raved about how awesome it was that he got to do ML at work (??), and it was all in video recommendations to keep eyeballs on the site.

That was a big (but not the biggest) turning point for me in my perspective of the company. I'm convinced they don't intrinsically care to fix the problems of abuse, and we need regulation to make them extrinsically motivated.

I say, you're a dreamer.

They’re not the only one.

They hope one day you will join them... and dont forget to press the like button, subscribe to the channel and hit the bell to get all the notifications

That is a level of existential flexibility not yet known to mankind.

I'd be watching for pigs on the wing.

On that topic by M.G. Siegler on 10/6:

"Facebook is not dying as a business, but they’ve died as a brand. The company needs to move on to ‘what’s next’ as quickly as possible to distance themselves from the social network. This is nothing new, of course — I wrote this over six years ago. They’ve more or less been trying to do this for years. But even in creating an umbrella company, they called it ‘Facebook’, which was dumb. It was the exact opposite of what they should have done. Because, again, Facebook, the brand, is over."


Fully agree about Fb the brand being dead. That's a stink that's not coming off. I think the business has good prospects. They're just learning how to monitize Ig and haven't begun to wring cash out of Whatsapp.

Does anyone really think though that Fb the company has what it takes to produce another world beating product? Call me pessimistic, but their best shot is buying up innovative companies and not strangling the cool out of them (ie Oculus)

Oculus at least was a strategic acquisition for whatever this metaverse product is going to end up being. If job listings are any indication, they are sinking a ton of money into VR research and devices. Something big is in the works. Given their stated goal of pivoting to the metaverse, I think their long-term goal is to make a ready-player-one style full virtual world, and Oculus and related products and technologies are gonna be a big part of that

As far as the ordinary user is concerned, there is no stink at all. People are not as aware of FBs negative impact or scandals to the degree that the average HN user is.

It's gone mainstream. Even the most ordinary user watches cable news. My close relations are as out of touch as it gets, and even they hold their noses when they use Fb now.

> Does anyone really think though that Fb the company has what it takes to produce another world beating product?

Is what they are trying with the Metaverse stuff. Kinda weird considering that buying "the next big thing" has worked so well for them before.

The libra fiasco should make anyone wonder if Fb is going to be able to sell the public on a big new project. At this point it feels like users tolerate Fb purely due to the network effects they have.

They don't have to, they just have to buy it

Edit: yeah, what you said.

This is a pretty worthless take from the HN community that Facebook==Bad. I've been watching the investments in VR, and I think it's a pretty bold move and only one that a founder-led company could even do. Fact is that Facebook has been largely responsible for VR up to this point and has sold the vast majority of all the HMDs out there. The VR/AR tech is brimming with possibilities and even a few days spent playing with the Quest 2 makes that obvious for anyone paying attention. They'll soon have 20k employees working on VR/AR. They are releasing a new HMD in a week that's rumored to bring face and eye, and potentially body tracking. They are announcing a company rebrand at the VR conference. Zuck has every indication of being all in on a pivot, from stale and dangerous social media that may soon be regulated out of existence, to fresh new pastures.

Tech companies already sit in the middle of so much of our relationships with each other and each one of them delivers a terrible low-bandwidth experience. I believe Facebook's end game here is no less than digital teleportation. Put on a pair of sunglasses and you can be in the room with anyone in the world. It will be radically personal and intimate after decades of impersonal, disconnected, inhumane and isolating tech.

And anyway, regardless of outcome, it will surely be more entertaining to watch a trillion dollar company go fully down the rabbit hole of some kind of cyberpunk fantasy than to watch them continue to dig the hole deeper on their society destroying social media tech.

> Put on a pair of sunglasses and you can be in the room with anyone in the world. It will be radically personal and intimate after decades of impersonal, disconnected, inhumane and isolating tech.

And how will that makes them money? The only thing that's going to be more "personal and intimate" is the way in which they deliver ads and the same divisive and polarizing content. It'll be be way worse that it is now. Imagine how bad things got simply by inserting text and pictures into your social media feed. What happens when you're fully immersed in the "metaverse" with ads and divisive content literally be all around you. And no two people get the same content either. It's horrifying.

Fully recording and controlling an immersive environment sounds like the ultimate money making proposition to me.

I've spent time playing Poker Stars, Table Tennis, Rec Room and Alt Space interacting with adults. The interactions I've had are nothing like posting void-screaming updates to your feed and are everything like being there with a real person. People are kinder too, this is after all a real person in front of you and it is just as intensely embarrassing to make a fool out of yourself as it would be in real life. I recently had a nice conversation with a man about his partner's cancer diagnosis and was able to offer him real human empathy in a moment where the headset and avatars fell away. It reminds me of the intimacy that old POTS telephone lines had, like whispering into each other's ears. The potential is all there and the execution lies in the decade ahead. We will see, but I am paying attention.

We don’t have to imagine what it’s like to be surrounded by ads, because that’s literally the physical world. Billboards, posters, and screens creating awareness for new brands and content are everywhere we look. It’s been that way for decades, and the world hasn’t ended yet. It’s not that big of a deal.

I don't think what you're talking about, where I live, life is not at all like you described. Billboards aren't allowed except on reserves here in Canada. Unless you're in a commercial setting, you don't see posters or screens everywhere.

It would be great if Facebook announced an open platform that focuses on enjoyable experiences rather than a closed platform that misappropriates PII and pushes negative interactions in a misguided quest for engagement. I won't hold my breath though.

The value in VR is easy to see. Most kids I've seen that get to try out VR come out of it like a meth addict that wants to dive back in for the next high. It's insane.

I think VR has a huge natural appeal and Facebook will just buy everything so they can own an entire growth industry. They'll keep the HMDs locked down and will destroy all competition with anti-competitive practices while regulators continue to look the other way. The entire VR industry will end up reaching a fraction of it's potential, but it'll still be profitable for Facebook so everyone will consider it a success.

I'd pay to see MarkVR where once a month the community gets to vote to put Zuckerberg into a VR community on the Facebook platform and he live streams the experience for 1h. I think that's one way you can tell the difference between a visionary/enthusiast and someone that's just buying things they think will make money. One loves the idea of participating in the community they're building and wants to build a healthy community with enjoyable experiences. The other would do everything in their power to avoid it because making money is the only goal and it doesn't matter if the community and experiences are terrible. Which one do you think Zuckerberg is?

> regulated out of existence

Regulation would further entrench Facebook as the only social network able to implement everything legally required to be a social network. Facebook wants legislation the same way Amazon and Walmart want increases in minimum wages: so they can push out smaller competitors and upstarts easier.

> And anyway, regardless of outcome, it will surely be more entertaining to watch a trillion dollar company go fully down the rabbit hole of some kind of cyberpunk fantasy than to watch them continue to dig the hole deeper on their society destroying social media tech.

I think the problem is that they seem to be headed towards doing both.

Yes, they will do both as long as there is money in social media. There will be gobs of money there, up until the point it's made illegal or defanged. I think the probability of that happening continues to increase, either the democracies will save themselves or the future autocracies will do it for them.

"Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs, has said he now takes his Monday morning meetings in the metaverse with a virtual table and whiteboard."

I once had a short consulting engagement with a VR company that spun out of Second Life and had to be "in world" the entire time. They had made a VR office space for the dev team to congregate in. The first time I beamed into a meeting room and saw a dozen blank faced avatars staring back at me I got filled with anxiety. I've been working remote for 13 years and I can't remember another time I felt anxious like that running a remote meeting.

The people were great and the spatial audio was interesting, but I found it really distracting to have to be in a VR world when really I just wanted to be in emacs coding. I felt mentally drained by the end of every day, worse than being in an office working a full day. I felt "always on" in a way I don't in an office (and certainly don't when remote). Maybe there's a niche here, but it's really not for me.

If they're already rolling Nick Clegg out to defend their metaverse ambitions then they can't think they're going to be very good for humanity.

Ugh Nick Clegg. No doubt a future seat as Harvard/Stanford Dean, if not just UK PM. The man talks out both ends - impressively so, I might add.

The UK already knows he talks out of both ends. His name is toxic here, Facebook oviously don't care much about converting more people in the UK to the cause with him involved.

You’re presuming the technology and software is fixed. It isn’t - there are continual leaps forward and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Facebook is rebranding because they can no longer control the narrative around their toxic brand. They have tried with "Project Amplify": https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/21/technology/zuckerberg-fac...

Some branding consultant has calculated that it will be cheaper for them simply re-brand than to try to recover the existing brand.

>The Verge reported that the new name for the holding company could be linked to Horizon, a word used in at least two virtual reality products that the company is developing.

Did we just accidentally cross over into Shadowrun lore? Everyone's talking about the whole corporate dystopia thing but I didn't think we'd be this literal about it, they could just take the slogan as well while they're at it


It's baffling to me that people still use the main Facebook app. It has gotten too big for its original purpose. I suppose if you curate your friends carefully and only share personal things it can be useful - but that's not the type of content that gets popular.

Instagram as a way to share moments I can understand, and WhatsApp is a utility not a social network.

I wrote this in a previous HN post that talked about Facebook. I sit on the opposite side of the scale: My Facebook account is quite nice; I've got friends from all over the world (I've lived in 7 different cities throughout Europe and the Americas in my 40 years of life) and my Facebook feed/network makes it possible for me to see where are they now, what are they up to, and when one of them has a kid in Serbia, or another has some milestone in Chicago I get to cheer them. The last post was about a cousin that just had his first solo airplane flight! I haven't seen him in like 5 years, but still it is nice to tell him "wow, that's great!".

When people say that their Facebook stream is "very angry", it seems to me that it is mainly a reflection of the network that they happen to be part of.

I think the biggest problem with FB right now is the way they force groups content into your feed. It's way, way overdone. Back when people joined those groups they were smaller and more focused and people were hoping to get occasional updates on some topic they're interested in.

Now it's at least half your feed if you don't trim the groups and your actual friends get lost in the noise. I'm sure FB has some data about engagement or some such, but they should remember why people use their service and refocus.

I pretty much only use Facebook for the groups and pages I follow. So it seems they did tailor it for the reasons I use it.

That's what I meant by "it has gotten too big for its original purpose" - keeping up with friends is what Facebook was built for, and it's great at that.

It's awesome if your network is still like that. For me, it becomes hard to filter out the widely shared & "angry" content some people share - it just propagates so easily.

There is a browser extension that automatically unfollows everything on Facebook for you. I used this extension and then re-followed the handful of people I actually care about. It brought Facebook back to the early ~2010s era. Gone are all the useless memes, embedded ads, "news" articles, and daily ramblings by people I don't care about. Instead it's a tool I can use to keep up to date with my friends and loved ones. My feed even has an end again. Only this time the "end" says: "Something went wrong. This may be because of a technical error that we're working to get fixed. Try reloading this page."

Here's a link. I highly recommend it.


What happens when the people you manually re-followed share content you dislike?

What I'd use Facebook for is keeping up with friends - for that it doesn't have to be the largest social network around. It would probably be better at that purpose if it was smaller.

Click the 3-dot menu button on the right side of the post, click "Hide all from <shared source>". Now if the person is sharing from <fake news site>, or <annoying meme page> you won't see it. If someone is continuously sharing nonsense from a wide-variety of sources, they get unfollowed (and they probably were not someone I selected to follow in the first place). This is impossible to manage if you are following everyone in your network (as is the default), but becomes doable if the default option is "unfollow" as enabled by this extension.

I unfollowed everything on Facebook the old fashioned way. I deleted my Facebook profiles. There is enough news out there to eat up each day without it.

Congrats. Pat your self on the back. So brave...

This does nothing to help the people that enjoyed the functionality of the early Facebook and would like to configure their page to return to that, rather than dropping it entirely.

> This does nothing to help the people that enjoyed the functionality of the early Facebook and would like to configure their page to return to that, rather than dropping it entirely.

That's progressive to try to enact change from within via the market. Keep complaining on HN until they become what you want them to be...which is what they used to be. I honestly think you're angry and things wont get better for you.

I'd say "your network" has likely gotten too big for your original intent. I'm not exposed to the 3 billion people on the platform. I only have family and close friends.

True, with more personal discipline you can probably make Facebook work for personal connections - as a few people commented about here. I just dislike that it's so easy to get into all the other crap.

It's the same for me on Twitter - spending time muting words & blocking some people made it a lot more valuable.

It's still not enough, even if you don't join any groups you'll still have the news feed flooded with "suggested for you" posts which you can only hide on a page by page basis while you still miss out on posts from your friends.

This is exactly what they had. Curated friend lists. You could see what select groups of your friends are up to. They were somewhat limited but good enough to keep facebook useful. They killed that in 2018, and lost me as a "customer" at that point. I still have messenger to talk to friends but they lost all the ad revenue from me. Whatever that amounted to :)

I pretty much only use facebook to talk to my grandparents these days.

"Ministry of Information?"

Ultimate Arbiter of Reality?

Can Zuck resist the urge to proclaim himslef a God? How about High Pontiff of the new Holy SanFransican Church?

I thought he is pushed to censor by the US and other governments, and practically does not have much room for freedom.

he has more money than god - if not for a god complex, what reason to continue with the status quo? he can do literally anything on or off this earth that is within the realm of possibility.

Facebook is not owned by Zuck he is just a CEO. I thought this is obvious so didn't stress this fact writing Zuch but meaning FB. Facebook is a public company and as such this company is owned by public. When I say Zuck does not have freedom I mean that facebook stacked holder do not have freedom, they either accept the rule pushes by the government or loose their investment i.e. loose the company, Zuch has nothing to do with it.

The Kwisatz Haderach?

I suggest "hatebook" as the new company name if they mean it being transparent.

Discussed yesterday as well (57 comments), from The Verge, which is the Guardian's source:


I can see why it might be frustrating to run a company full of different efforts, some of which are intended to be brand new or a change in direction, but nevertheless remain known as the one blue thing.

Hopefully this also allows Zuckerberg to stay technologically strategic, where his gifts want him to be, as opposed to mired in questions of ethical standards for platforms used by teens and children.

(Ideally an ethical platform could then also be cultivated through some of that technological power given back to community as well...In some ways one of the biggest hurdles to jump in the future is IMO allowing for such ethics systems to develop in a standardized, yet diverse fashion. If everybody has to use the same admin and moderation system the same way, for example, it incentivizes abuse by power users. Each new community or group will have its own psychological dynamic and deserves the opportunity to get off the ground without being pulled down into platform-sameness by a possibly angry or bitter set of power users.)

The window of opportunity for Zuckerburg/Facebook to run “an ethical platform” has long since closed. The only ethical play Zuck has left is to pull the plug and that will never happen.

Whatever name they want to call it I still refuse to use social media. It's a cancer and I'm happier without it.

ok hacker news commenter

There is a big difference between things like focused forums / discussion boards and social media. On HN and Reddit I engage with people about specific topics we have shared interests in. On social media (Facebook) you're either subjected to opinions about divisive topics or you exist in an echo chamber =/

I think Facebook has, by far, the best implementation of AI in tech today.

No, really! I know the tricks of AI and even I, sometimes, get tricked into thinking that Zuckerberg is an actual and real human being, not just an AI bot faking empathy, decency and ethics.

They pass the Turing test, with honors. That's how well they do it! :)


"If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."

- Don Draper.

Appreciate their contributions to the metaverse, but they'll never build "The Metaverse," or "A Metaverse." They definitely will never own the Metaverse.

The metaverse is open, collaborative, privacy focused, and free by default. It should be a public good. The walled gardens, and efforts to control are really part of the metaverse, rather than the entire metaverse itself.

There are so many other orgs and people working hard on ensuring that it can't be owned. They can hire 100,000 more people, and they still can't own it. It's bigger than that.

I relate with the platitude, but who is actually working on a free/decentralized metaverse right now? This just seems like something hackers are completely uninterested in, so the corporations will fill the void.

This isn't quite like the Internet in the early days, which was born free and decentralized because it was invented by highly motivated hackers.

If I was losing faith in the long term sustainability of my core product, and wanted to start hedging by branching out into new spaces with new brands, a rename of the holding company would be my first move.

Booky McBookFace

If Mark Zuckerberg trademarks "Metaverse", William Gibson should trademark "Mark Zuckerberg".


>Virtual Reality and the Pioneers of Cyberspace: 25 years before Oculus, John Perry Barlow described what it was like “being in nothingness.”

>[...] And they were ready to make a product. They’d made a promo video starring Timothy Leary. Gullichsen had even registered William Gibson’s term “cyberspace” as an Autodesk trademark, prompting an irritated Gibson to apply for trademark registration of the term “Eric Gullichsen.” By June, they had an implementation which, though clearly the Kitty Hawk version of the technology, endowed people with an instantaneous vision of the Concorde level. [...]

This reminds me of when Philip Morris Companies changed its name to Altria in part to distance itself from the negative connotation.

Comcast is now XFinity!

How about "FaceReality"

For them, FaceTheFacts and FaceTheMusic would be amusing trademarks too.

WeTheCreepy with gollum as the mascot would fit too

My Precious (advertising dollars)

I thought more like Zuckerscape Playgrounds.

A true metaverse will be very difficult to create until we have brain-computer interfaces.

All VR devs are entirely focused on the visual/audio output of devices but one very important detail that is missing is the illusory sixth sense, the kinesthetic receptors.

You can solve x-y axis movement with treadmills, but how do you simulate z axis movement without anyone getting sick ?

This is why a lot of people get nauseous on VR roller-coasters. I personally cannot use a VR device for more than 30 minutes without getting ill.

Personally, I think the steps of XR evolution will go like this:

(1) VR restricted to stationary games that don't require a lot of movement. The stage we're at right now.

(2) AR goggles/glasses are most likely to be more desirable than VR within the next 100 years because they're improvements on the existing world rather than replacements. Workplace tools, heart rate metrics, etc. Basically the first working versions of these will be porting the main apps of iWatch to a glasses interface.

(3) Lateral (x-y axis) VR could be improved to provide more immersive entertainment and games. Still nothing groundbreaking, and you're going to be restricted to using a very expensive treadmill.

(4) Once brain/computer interfaces are successfully developed and approved by government regulating bodies for production and release, then people can plug into the "metaverse". I'm guessing this is at least 100 years or more away (that might be optimistic too)

Also an important thing to note is that the infrastructure needed to support a living metaverse is very important. There is a big question mark on what this is going to look like coming out of a megacorp (especially one as greedy as FB). The internet had the luxury of being open/free/ad-free in the beginning, and had a strong developer community. Apple was successfully able to build a dev community for their iPhone but them and Android are really the only good examples I can think of.

People even avoid developing on Microsoft's OS for less restrictive open-source alternatives.

So, nothing like a re-brand[1] to sidestep negative associations.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altria#History

>Under the plans, Facebook would change the name of its holding company but not that of its eponymous social media platform, known internally as the “big blue app”.

Nothing to see here. Just another Alphabet-type holding company.

Dad joke, but they should call themselves "Newton". . . .

Because after an Apple whacked them on the head, they started coming to grips with the gravity of the situation :P

They can become just like Nestlé trying to hide who they are through countless different names so it is hard to follow who the parent company is.

This feels like the Google Plus fiasco all over again. Throwing an entire company at making a social product that nobody will use. Good luck!

I wonder if a name change for the holding company would help with recruiting. I can imagine that a lot of people don't want to say "I work at Facebook" — but might be willing to say "I work at [holdco]". Sort of similar to the Google/Alphabet distinction, but FB probably has a worse image among SV types than Google ever has.

Rumor is, it will be the Scheinhardt Wig Company.

"The Verge reported that the new name for the holding company could be linked to Horizon"

How about Verizon? That's a creative name.

I have been surprised Facebook has experimented so little with diversifying their lines of business. Hopefully by moving their flagship social media platform to be formally one step lower down, more equal with various other lines of business, it will align with a model where they figure out something good to spend their money on.

Facebook employs over 10,000 people on products that are not consumer social media: Workplace, Portal, Oculus... It's certainly not for lack of investment.

Rebranding as Horizon? That'd be no less "we are creepy and intrude on your whole life" than Facebook...

That’s the point. They’re focusing on the metaverse now. People who finally realized Facebook is no good will fall right back into their hands for the next shiny object used to extract data about their being.

I believe the way this answer is stated, paints a very biased picture. Allow me to provide an alternative vision, which I believe is shared by many (though not as vocal as the other opinion). So, let me share my hopes here:

Maybe some people will finally see through media propaganda, and conformism to realize how much value Facebook brings to their life and how is (US based) facebook is better than other alternatives. These users will hopefully embrace metaverse to have even better interaction will other human beings across the world for business, please and joy, which will allow the to have reacher more meaningful life experiences

Yes I am biased. I loathe Facebook and all it stands for. I don’t have a problem with the metaverse even if it’s probably going to be the thing that ages me. My problem is that Facebook will inevitably use it to colonize more data that they do not have a right to. If a simple name change is in order, it’s only because people still don’t understand what exactly Facebook is. Its creation wasn’t to be Good. Its creation was, and ever will be, to exploit these data to the detriment of society which overwhelmingly outweighs whatever good it makes.

Well "biased" means that you are not doing an independent impartial assessment of the facts. So admittedly, you're saying your opinion is based off something other than pure facts?

I believe I do know how facebook operates to a good approximation, how ranking system operate, and how users data is used for ads targeting and content ranking. Based off my knowledge I think what you write here is a gross misrepresentation of the situation, I do try to be unbiased.

No, you misunderstand. The argument is against Facebook’s existence and not how it operates.

It seems funny to name it Meta, as FB doesn't have anything to do with metaverse. They brought real names to the internet and still cling to that, but that means that instead of infinite personalities you have only one, the boring old personality that you always had and hated.

I have a friend who works at FB, and he says he does standups and other meetings in VR. um.... No thanks.

Does he work on a VR adjacent team? I'd be surprised if everyone did this, but wouldn't be surprised if some teams are expected a certain amount 'dog-fooding'. I have a friend who works at M$ and always has some broken beta build of windows/IE running.

I always take it as a company is trying to hide from its mistakes when they do a rebranding. Long ago, International Harvester rebranded to Navistar, and I knew I'd never want to buy one of their products, ever, as a result.

I wonder just how bad the stuff they're trying to hide is.

Does this stiff actually work? I feel like if your reputation is bad enough that a name change doesn't really do anything. For example: no one thought Academi was anything other than Blackwater. In my mind those those names have always been synonymous.

Because Google changed to Alphabet and everyone calls it that and never uses Google when they talk about who owns DeepMind or Fitbit.

I mean, it's probably necessary for corporate structure or whatever, but no matter what they rebrand as, it'll still be "Facebook".

I don’t think anyone talks about Fitbit anymore ...

Is this a joke? Zuckerberg won't ever change the name of his first successful and beloved project just like Page won't ever change the name of Google or he already did with Alphabet but you know what I mean(we still all call it Google not Alphabet).

I gotta say I'm really glad that Facebook is all-in on Virtual Reality, because that's the shortest path to the ultimate failure of Facebook and the departure of a lot of its problem children in management.

Virtual Reality as a concept is always going to fail.

Virtual reality as a concept has been validated since the initial release Oculus’s DK1. You are quite behind the times on this one.

The number of users on Steam with a VR headset was hovering around 1% last time I looked, and gaming is their only market outside of porn.

After the new name fails to make any significant difference, they will try new CEO.

They'll try but with his preferred shares he'll be like a leech that they'll never be rid of.

I would argue that Epic / Fortnite has a leg up on the metaverse than facebook. They are already doing virtual-esque events like that concert and it's only a matter of time before they add the VR/AR aspects.

Facebook needs to just buy Epic already.

Tim wouldn't sell. There are higher chances that Epic will be bought by Microsoft or by Sony PlayStation division. Or... they will go the Valve way, by creating their own platforms on open source, see Steam Community, OS, Deck, Index, etc. Many don't know but Steam Workshop and Community are extremely active, many social/creative things are going on across many gaming communities.

This may sound radical, but have they tried being decent ethical people instead?

This is a good idea. Their brand is fu*ked right now. All age groups hate facebook for a variety of different reasons. They are synonymous with misinformation and terrible privacy. This is a good move by Facebook.

I wonder what will inspire Zuckerberg for the name. Google founders Page and Brin were apperantly inspired by the ABC-Straße in Hamburg, where the German Google offices are located.

wash away the shame? won't work.

Feels a bit clickbait. The headline made it sound like it was rebranding the main app. Instead they're just pulling a google->alphabet, which is much less shocking.

Seems like this name change is to run from their past sins -- like how Electric Boat became General Dynamics, or like how Unbounded Solutions became BrighterBrain.

"Fakeblock" is a great name.


It honestly makes sense to name the company something else than their first product, especially as they now have multiple other products with similar user numbers.

This is what tobacco companies do. RJ Reynolds --> Altria.

This is what oil companies do. British Petroleum --> BP.

You rebrand because people have a bad taste in their mouth about you.

With the header-ad, page-header, and "support journalism" footer, I literally see less than 10 pixels of whitespace worth of content.

That's beyond ridiculous.

Seems right out of the Google -> Alphabet playbook

When is the last time you saw two people at a party adding each other on FB? It's been a pretty long time.

Probably no other option of FB at this point.

> Facebook would change the name of its holding company but not that of its eponymous social media platform

Ya'll ever heard of Worldcom?


I wonder if this means they no longer have to write "Instagram from Facebook" and "Whatsapp from Facebook".


^ my money's on this.

Already owned by CZI, too

Interestingly, this happens ~17 years after Facebook went online, same as what happened with Google/Alphabet in 2015

They should rename to Innovative Online Industries (IOI), because that is the role he will be playing in the metaverse.

Oh yes, one of the steps large companies inevitably take after their reputation is tarnished beyond repair. The problem here is that nobody cares what the parent company of Facebook is called, just like nobody cares what the parent company of Google is called. It's Facebook and Google.

Isn't this really just a Google > Alphabet kind of change? I assume there will be a new umbrella that FB, IG and WApp will just be things inside as well as pushing things like Oculus at more of a separate concern.

Feels like Google had a valid reason, unlike Facebook, who seems to be only doing it because of PR issues.

I wonder if this structure also helps with reduced risk for antitrust cases succeeding.

I feel like the actual anti-trust risk is lower than people expect/want.

Isnt it just unfounded speculation that it is for pr? To me it makes sense for the same reasons google did it.

How would one "prove" the reason they changed their name is for PR? A company would never outright say "Our reputation is terrible so we are trying to trick everybody by coming up with a new name to redirect attention."

Google did it because they were structuring businesses that matured out of Google X - like Verily & Waymo. Facebook doesn't have such a similar business reason. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook are all in the social media space and all relate to each other. The alleged reason "to rebrand under a Metaverse umbrella" makes it clear this is a very different reason compared to what Google did.

>Google did it because they were structuring businesses that matured out of Google X - like Verily & Waymo. Facebook doesn't have such a similar business reason.

Facebook hasn't even announced their reasons, they haven't announced anything at all. You fail to mention their plays in the VR and AR space which to me makes this pretty clear and similar to the google reasons.

It sure does make sense, but the timing is hard to ignore. Either way, you are right, indeed it is unfounded speculation, hence why I said "who seems to be only doing it because of PR issues."

This seems like terrible timing if they are doing it for PR, since Facebook is currently in the thick of a negative news cycle that will immediately tarnish the new brand. The stories will all say: Facebook is evil, and also changing its name. It would make more sense to wait for the press to die down first.

And honestly - nobody calls Google anything but Google. These sorts of renames requires that the main line of business actually shrink relative to the company which strikes me as highly unlikely for both Google and Facebook.

Alphabet's name change was part of a corporate and equity (shares) restructuring and also a change of the executive leadership guard and/or board, no? Perhaps that's going on at Facebook too. I don't think it is incidental that Facebook is already in the headlines and has other PR issues at the moment. Kind of goes without saying...

One renaming I can recall is Philip Morris -> Altria, although apparently a new Philip Morris was spun off, so it exists again.

Barely anyone knows Chiquita used to be the infamous United Fruit Company, so it can work.

I bet barely anyone would care if it was still United Fruit Company.

If Googling your company name also brought up a bunch of See Also links to various genocides and military coups, the company executives would certainly care.

In an age of ethical consumerism, it's undeniable that not breaking with the past would've had a significant impact on their profits.

Googling "United Fruit Company" doesn't give any Related searches that mention genocides or coups for me. OTOH, the very first thing when googling Chiquita is "People also ask... Is Chiquita a bad company?" with an answer that is basically "yes".

Genocide might be pushing it, but DuckDuckGo [1] first result is a Wikipedia article:


Some entries in the table of contents sound a bit embarrassing, like "Banana massacre" and "Aiding and abetting a terrorist organization". Description of a coup is to be found if someone reads the entry about Guatemela.

Various other top DDG results are about the same three things, dictionary entries and Pablo Neruda's poem.

[1] https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffcm&q=United+Fruit+Company&ia=web

Maybe, but there are a lot of companies with negative links, although perhaps not to the level of UFC's genocide or military coups. Nike, IBM, Mercedes, etc. Either way, management would have changed twice or thrice over by now. But I would still guess the vast majority of people do not care how their bananas got to them as long as they are 49 cents per pound or their avocados regardless of which Mexican cartel sent them.

Does anyone really think clothing brands are avoiding Xinjiang cotton if their product still comes from China or another south/east Asian country?

It worked for Arthur Anderson -> Accenture although they also restructured the business. E.g. Accenture is only the consulting part of the business.

Honestly, I think it does work. Not perfectly, but somewhat, and that's enough to be worth doing for them.

People will continue to associate Facebook stuff and some of the parent-company shenanigans when they hit big news events, but it gives them another name for news releases and forcefully correcting news outlets that "Alphabet did X, and Alphabet is not Google".

I first thought of Comcast. People still call it "Comcast" instead of "Xfinity"

Or RoadRunner -> Time Warner -> Spectrum depending on your region and age

Wow. It does work. I had no idea Spectrum was Time Warner. I was just wondering the other day about what ended up happening with Time Warner.

I thought Xfinity was a “product” of comcast?

It's a "brand" of Comcast (whatever that means)

"Comcast Cable is the cable television division of Comcast Corporation, providing cable television, broadband internet, and landline telephone under the Xfinity brand." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comcast#Comcast_Cable_(Xfinity...

True, but Comcast Cable was still rebranded to it to avoid negative associations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xfinity#Branding

May work to some extent, remember Blackwater?

Blackwater => Xe Services => Academi

An accidental case of that is Accenture. It split with Arthur Andersen (and got renamed) just a couple of years before the Enron Scandal broke.

I'm not sure how successful this rebrand will be when the words "Zuck" or "Zucked" in popular English literally mean "to arbitrarily remove or ban something for stupid or arbitrary reasons".

"Zuckerberged" means "to steal an idea from someone but change it just enough that you can claim it as yours". [0]

[0] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Zuckerberged

Does it mean that? I’ve only seen Zuckerburg used as a verb to mean cheating your business partner out of the business

Anecdotally on Facebook itself I see the term "Zucked" thrown around a lot in groups for various topics, an example would be: "be careful with that post or you'll get the group Zucked". Maybe it's a regional or topic-specific thing but I see it quite a lot.

Google did it before it went mainstream.

to arbitrarily remove... for arbitrary reasons.


Popular English has taken a real hit in the last few years.

If we're being pedantic, I'll one up you: The removal being arbitrary does not require that the reason is arbitrary; see: selective enforcement. :p

I'm not sure failing to proofread a throwaway comment on a social news site indicates anything about the state of popular English.

That's because Google remains Alphabet's most used product. I've theorized for years that Facebook massively benefits from all the negative coverage because Facebook itself isn't that popular anymore.

I would guess that if you were to split up FB into FB business pages, FB personal pages, Instagram, and Whatsapp, that FB personal pages would be the lowest-used product by a sizeable margin. If they rebrand along those lines, I'm guessing they could convince the public of that as well and lawmakers wouldn't be able to get their grubby regulating hands on it.

Certainly the "news feed" has to be the most used feature? From shoulder surfing some Fb users, it seems like users spend most of their time scrolling until something triggers a response. Then back to scrolling...

Neal Stephenson, having coined the term in his book Snowcrash, is probably getting a good laugh out of this.

Someone needs to organize an HN AMA with Neal once they rename the company Meta and pivot the whole trillion dollar entity into the Snowcrash universe. It's just the sort of thing he would have written himself.

"No, you cannot call yourselves 'Meryl Streep.' "

"Maybe she'll be flattered!"

How about “Creepy+Greedy, Inc”?

It’s either the actions of the company or the name. Must be the name, right?

Rather than fixing the issues behind the brand, just change the name?

Sounds like the stunt Google did with Alphabet. Total BS.

May I suggest, "Altria"....oh,..I forgot.

Willing to put money on them changing to FB.

geez, just let this blasted company initiate its own collapse like myspace already.

Twitter won't be too far behind.

How about "Facey McBookFace"?


The metaverse push shouldn't be a surprise if you've read The Art of Surveillance Capitalism. The first step is to get data from the digital, from our online presences. The second step is to get data from the physical world. Google did this with StreetView and then with Pokemon Go (Niantic started as an internal Google startup). Facebook needs more data and the metaverse is a thinly veiled attempt to get it.

I suggest "TruthSmash"

   Fecebook - Steve Jobs.

They will name it Universe Inc.

Or Megadodo, and develop space ships in order to move to Ursa Minor.

Already rebranding ? strnge.

If only they would `rm -rf remove *` inside the website's code directory instead. One can only wish.

North Central Positronics

Renaming to „The Circle“

Facebook is a stupid name to begin with.

Aliens would ask “wait it’s not a book with faces in it?”

A book strapped to your face = vr headset

New name:FaceChance ?


Into the Zuckerverse. Get the Zuck outta here..


New name: meta mark

are we getting MANG or HANG instead of FANG?

If they changed their name to "Goodguys", we'd get GANG

bad guys would be funnier BANG

Introducing the "InYourFacebook"





I initially thought this was some kind of april fools joke but no, they're just that desperate.

Hades comes to mind to use as the holding name.

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