'It's just confusing' | Zuckerberg's Meta values rebrand mocked by staff as 'confusing'

Zuckerberg's Meta values rebrand mocked by staff as 'confusing'

Meta’s attempts to rebrand its company culture and values, including calling co-workers ‘Metamates’ have been met with confusion and mockery among the firm’s workforce, the New York Times has reported.

The company formerly known as Facebook recently revealed its latest bid to distance itself from the eponymous name of its most famous social media platform, which continues to face scrutiny over privacy concerns, hateful content and misinformation.

As part of this cultural reset, Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a new name for his company’s employees. From now on, ‘Facebookers’ are now called ‘Metamates’.

The announcement was made as part of an overhaul of Meta’s corporate values, which the Facebook founder said needed updating because of the company’s new direction, according to NYT.

Previous mottos used by the firm, such as “Be bold” and “Focus on impact” have also been replaced with “Live in the future,” “Build awesome things,” and “Meta, Metamates, me,” Zuckerberg said in a new blog post on Facebook.

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He wrote: “I’ve always believed that in order for values to be useful, they need to be ideas that good companies can reasonably disagree with or emphasize differently.

“I think these values capture how we must act as a company to bring our vision to life.”

However, while Zuckerberg hopes Meta’s new mantra will mark a fresh start for the frequently scandal-hit company, NYT revealed that the Metamates themselves reacted to their new monikers with mixed opinions.

While ‘hundreds’ reacted to the announcement with positive comments and emojis on Meta’s internal forums, according to the NYT, some private chat messages among co-workers revealed far more sceptical hot takes.

“How is this going to change the company? I don’t understand the messaging,” one engineer wrote in a private chat viewed by The New York Times. “We keep changing the name of everything, and it is confusing.”

Others said the new slogan gave a sense of being “a cog in a machine,” according to employee posts reviewed by The Times. And on Twitter, one Meta employee made fun of the new values, replacing them with “conform” and “obey” in a tweet which has since been deleted.

Another employee said being a ‘Metamate’ reminded him of sailing, joking: “Does this mean we are on a sinking ship?”

Meta declined to comment on the employee posts, the newspaper said.

How should a rebrand affect employees?

Meta’s new cultural mantras suggests the firm wants to showcase to employees and users that they are now headed in a new direction.

“A clear, unified corporate identity can be critical to competitive strategy,” wrote Stephen Greyser and Mats Urde for Harvard Business Review. “It serves as a north star, providing direction and purpose. It can also enhance the image of individual products, help firms recruit and retain employees, and provide protection against reputational damage in times of trouble.”

Will it work?

When the rebrand from Facebook to Meta was first announced in late October 2021, Geoffrey James wrote in Inc. that the motive, to distance the company from its history, wouldn’t be successful. He wrote: “The change is being positioned as a way to expand the company beyond social media [but] it would be very strange indeed if Zuck weren't hoping a rebrand might lessen the heat of the company's historically horrible publicity.”

He added: “The problem with umbrella brands, and rebranding in general, is that rebranding is almost always a pointless waste of time,” he explains, adding “this is certainly true of umbrella brands, as evidenced by Google's attempt to rebrand itself as Alphabet. While the financial reports use the new company name, it's just not sticking in real life. Everyone calls the company Google and will probably continue to do so in saecula saeculorum, amen.”

He concluded: “No matter what new names the company comes up with, the name Facebook will remain forever ensconced in the collective intelligence as the company that screwed up the internet.”

Image: Meta © 2022

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