Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

News of Facebook’s new company name, Meta, quickly attracted the scorn of the internet.

“The only meta we acknowledge,” tweeted writer Mitchell Clark, who posted a picture of former NBA player Meta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest). “‘Meta’ is short for ‘I meta girl in high school who I had a huge crush on only to find her years later on Facebook posting anti-vax links and Tom Hanks pedophile theories,'” tweeted comedy writer Matt Oswalt. “Stop trying to make meta happen,” tweeted producer Adam Lance Garcia with a picture of Regina George (played by Rachel McAdams) from the hit 2004 film “Mean Girls.”

The name change comes as the company shifts its focus to the “metaverse,” which refers to efforts to combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm. At the same time, the company is also confronting its real world problems after a whistleblower leaked hundreds of internal documents that give deep insight into the company’s internal culture, its approach to misinformation and hate speech moderation, internal research on its newsfeed algorithm, and communication related to the January 6 insurrection.

While some of the jokes and memes were light and funny, others took a darker tone. “Renaming ‘Facebook ‘Meta’ solves the same kinds of problems that renaming ‘torture’ ‘enhanced interrogation’ did,” tweeted scientist Matt Blaze. He was referencing the CIA’s techniques for extracting information from suspected terrorists after 9/11 attacks. “Gonna take awhile to get used to saying ‘He was radicalized in a META group,'” a tweet from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah read. Some companies even joined in on poking fun at the new name.