A New Name Won’t Fix Facebook

By Nik Popli

October 21, 2021

When an established company becomes fraught with scandal, advisers will often suggest changing the subject to distract from its mistakes. It’s usually a last resort effort, but the kind of textbook public relations move that advisers crave.

On Oct. 28, Facebook announced a new name—Meta—as it faces its biggest scandal in years after a whistleblower leaked thousands of internal documents. Many suspect the company is attempting to stave off the tsunami of bad press following misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effect its products have on users’ mental health. For a brand like Facebook, marred by these concerns for years, a rename might give itself a chance to overcome some of its reputational damage. After all, it wouldn’t be the first corporate business to seek a clean slate with a new moniker. But experts say Facebook will have to do a lot more than just change its name in order to regain user trust.

“There’s no name that’s going to rehabilitate the behavior that they’ve displayed so far,” says Laurel Sutton, co-founder of the branding agency Catchword. “Maybe put that time and energy into rehabilitating their morals and ethics and business decisions rather than just trying to slap a new name on something.” …

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