The rebrand of Facebook as Meta to focus on the ‘metaverse’ can help alleviate confusion by distinguishing Facebook as a parent company from its founding app, but the name change will not erase the systemic issues plaguing the company.
Mike Proulx, Forrester VP and Research Director, said that consumers largely remain neutral about Facebook becoming a metaverse company.
“If it continues to struggle curbing issues around mis/disinformation, extremist content, consumer privacy, teen safety, etc, then these same issues will fast follow Facebook into the metaverse. If Meta doesn’t address its issues beyond a defensive and superficial altitude, those same issues will occupy the Metaverse,” he said.
Success will come down to trust
“The success of Meta’s metaverse strategy all comes down to trust. Forrester found that less than half — 41% — of adults surveyed in the US say they trust Facebook (the company). If the majority of online adults don’t trust Facebook as a social media company, why would they trust it as a metaverse company? Without trust, Meta’s metaverse plans are already at risk.”
Speaking at the company’s annual Connect conference last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the current cycle of bad news “had nothing to bear on this. Even though I think some people might want to make that connection."
“I think it’s helpful for people to have a relationship with a company that is different from the relationship with any specific one of the products, that can kind of supersede all of that.”
While Zuckerberg has been named as CEO and Chairman for Meta, US tech journalist and podcaster Kara Swisher, in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN’s AC360 programme last week, predicts that someone else will eventually become CEO of Facebook, much like Larry Page did with Google.
“Facebook is creating a new corporate entity much like Google did in 2015 when they created Alphabet. That moves him (Zuckerberg) out of out of the line of fire essentially and takes the pressure off him, but he still controls the company.”