The announcement that Facebook will be changing its name to META did not go down well with many. However, even though their opinions didn't matter, many critics around the world did not hold back in questioning the decision by the company to change the name.
Despite the explanation that the new name will better "encompass" the services and activities which the company currently engages in, the news was met with mixed reactions.
After the rebranding and name change announcement by the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the name was top of all social media trends for over a week – and for the worst reasons.
Why Did Facebook Change Its Name to META?
In his October 28, 2021 announcement, Zuckerberg explained that despite the adoption of META, the company will still maintain the brand names for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus VR, which they currently control.
"We are a company that builds technology to connect," Zuckerberg said in his speech targeted at educating the world that the company is adopting the metaverse (META) because it better encapsulates the activities of the brand and its vision.
But many critics were not interested in the explanation; to them, this was another opportunity to hit at the social media giants.
The #FacebookDead Hashtag
Among the hashtags that were trending after the announcement was the "#FacebookDead" hashtag. It originated after some Hebrew speakers commented that the meaning of Facebook's new name META in Hebrew means 'Dead'.
The information led to widespread mockery even by other social media organizations who were obviously gaining from the backlash being melted on Facebook. Many prominent personalities also jumped on the trend to take a swipe at the social media giant.
Tech expert and renowned author Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt tweeted, "In Hebrew, Meta means Dead." The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication author then went on to say, "The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come."
When quoted in one of the tweets, Israeli emergency rescue organization, Zaka – whose services include offering Jewish burial rites responded with, "Don't worry, we're on it."
Why Facebook Should Adopt an African Meaning for META
As it stands, nothing can change the decision to rename Facebook as all the necessary requirements had been made before the announcement – as it should. However, it is obvious that the social media giants will have to endure the ridicule and backlash for generations to come.
But why should it? META may mean 'Dead' in Hebrew, but it means something else in an African language – Yoruba. The name means something else in the Yoruba language. It has a meaning that embodies Mark Zuckerberg's idea of the direction he wants to pilot the company.
In Yoruba, META means 'Three.' But why should Facebook adopt this meaning for META as a way of dissociating itself from the enforced Hebrew meaning which critics have chosen for it? The answer is simple – three can be a synonym for tripartite – and this is a better definition for Facebook to adopt.
As a simple definition, tripartite refers to anything with three parts, versions, or parties. It also means something compelling and cannot be broken due to the triple fortification. An excellent example of this is the Holy Trinity, which to Christians encompasses the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
What is the Yoruba Language?
Yoruba is a language spoken by the Yoruba people who settled in modern-day Nigeria, Togo, and Benin Republic. According to reports, there are roughly 50 million first-language speakers and 2 million second-language speakers daily.
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria – where he spent most of his time in Lagos, a city dominated by Yoruba speakers. So, it all adds up – doesn't it?