First reported by The Verge late last night, news came that Facebook plans to undergo a rebrand and will rename the company.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Facebook itself will rebrand, as all of their products—Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus—will likely be housed under the same umbrella brand name. The name could potentially be announced this October 28th at Facebook’s annual Connect Conference by CEO and Brent Spiner sunscreen enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg, but it could also come in the next few days.
While the new name is currently under wraps, some insiders speculate it will be Horizon, as the proposed virtual reality edition of Facebook goes by the same title.
And that’s really where the toxic, embattled brand is heading. Zuckerberg has made it clear that he sees the metaverse—a shared VR sandbox where folks from all over the world can interact with one another over the internet—as the company’s future. He wants to reposition Facebook not just as a social media hub, but a seemingly life-like digital playground a-la Roblox where you will also definitely get advertised to.
It’s no secret that Facebook has been having a no-good terrible few weeks—actually, years—in the press, what with the recent global blackout and the damning accounts from whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Sophie Zhang reporting, among other things, that it lets authoritarian regimes manipulate their country’s political discourse, knowingly finesses its social algorithms to spread misinformation and hate speech, and is pretty bad for teenage girls and their mental health. I don’t know if Mark Zuckerberg has moved into that aloof billionaire or CEO Howard Hughes phase where he’s storing his urine in mason jars, but he’s almost certainly walking around Willow Village in some clunky-ass VR hardware.
This is to say that I’m not so sure a name change is really going to fix things or make consumers feel all that different about your brand. Facebook will still be Facebook, and it doesn’t seem like the company has any plans to fix the festering rot. I’d also hate to be the branding agency working on this or even one of the freelancers taking some slightly visionary word with oblique underpinnings and running it through some geometric sans serif vomit machine.
While Facebook didn’t bring me on for the brainstorming name jamboree (I’m available!), let me armchair quarterback just a few:
Marky Mark & The Fascist Bunch
I Am Weed
Aunt Patty’s Spicey Takes
House of Ben Shapiro Hyperlinks
Lawnmower Man Google Glass Emporium
Bad Social Media Friend
Does the COVID Vaccine Work?
JFC My Aunt Patty is Racist
All Thumbs, This Guy!
I Only Use This For Marketplace
No, I didn’t unfollow you, Aunt Patty; please pass the turkey.
How do you do, fellow TikTokers?
Anywho, let this be a lesson to you all. You can sow division, traffic in hate speech, and spread misinformation while having a couple of folks in Congress grill you, and you don’t have to do a damn thing, but maybe-kinda-sorta change your name, and, voila, everything is fine! Watch this space as I’m sure we’ll spill some digital ink about the name/look/logotype with some not-so-thinly veiled critique of a product that should go away but never will.