Many Twitter users mocked the social media company’s rebrand – revealed by founder Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week – by using the hashtag #FacebookDead. “Someone did not do their #branding survey,” onand post sale
Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, author of The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication, tweeted
: “In Hebrew * means * Meta * * Death * The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come.”
“Serious mistake ?? Facebook’s new name Meta means death in Hebrew. Funny. #FacebookDead” another user tweeted
Zuckerberg’s efforts to innovate Facebook come as the company faces what could be its most potent scandal since its launch in 2004.
The social media giant is in the spotlight after the publication this week of “The Facebook Papers”, a series of internal documents obtained by 17 news organizations, including CNN, that support whistleblower Frances Haugen’s claims that the company is full of institutional shortcomings.
The documents reveal how Facebook has generated misinformation, fought to eliminate human trafficking-related content on the site and tried to increase its teenage audience, despite internal research suggesting that its platforms, especially Instagram, may have a negative effect on their mental health .
Facebook is not the first company to be ridiculed after its branding was not translated abroad.
In 2019, Kim Kardashian West was charged with cultural appropriation after debuting her shapewear brand, which she originally called Kimono. Kardashian even appeared to have branded the word “kimono”, a decision that Kyoto’s mayor, Daisaku Kadokawa, criticized in an open letter on Facebook.
“We believe that the names of ‘Kimono’ are the assets shared by all of humanity who love Kimono and its culture, therefore they should not be monopolized,” Kadokawa wrote.
Kardashian changed the name of his brand to Skims later that year.
In 2017, McDonald’s name change in China raised eyebrows. Customers were confused when the company switched Maidanglao, a Chinese iteration of the English name, to Jingongmen, which can be loosely translated as “Golden Arches”. One customer said it “sounds like a furniture store.”
And when the Nissan Moco was launched in the early 2000s, Spanish-speaking customers may have looked twice as the word “moco” translates to “bogey”. Needless to say, the name was only used in Japan.