Yesterday, Tuesday, during a virtual meeting of Meta (the former Facebook), its CEO Mark Zuckerberg reviewed the corporate values that the company intends to show off in this new phase that began in October, and stated that part of them are expressed in the slogan “Meta, Metamates, Me”. But, wait a second… what is this ‘metamates’?

With that strange term Zuckerberg intends all company employees to refer to themselves from now on, replacing the old ‘facebookers’. ‘Zuck’ explained this slogan shortly afterwards on his Facebook account:

“It’s about being good stewards of our company and our mission. It’s about the sense of responsibility we have to our collective success and to each other as teammates. It’s about taking care of our company and each other.”

Zuckerberg also laid out another new value for the company: “focus on long-term impact.” Many see this as a clue as to what to expect from the ‘metaverse’.

On Twitter, Andrew Bosworth, vice president of augmented and virtual reality at Meta, attributed the ‘credit’ for inventing the term ‘metamates’ to the famous scientist and writer Douglas Hofstadter (the author of ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’), to whom a company employee reportedly sent an email “to ask for ideas”.

Hofstadter himself later clarified that he had proposed ‘teammate’, adding ‘metamate’ as an alternative in a postscript; he also added that he was unaware that the company had accepted his proposal. And he also made it clear that he “doesn’t use Facebook” and never has.

Bosworth also added that the motto is based on another U.S. Navy motto: “Ship, shipmate, self,” which details what they should put first in case of danger. Although, fortunately for the ‘metamates’, in case their company sinks, Silicon Valley is still full of alternatives…

According to US media, in some internal forums, employees welcomed the new slogan with emojis of hearts… while in private chat messages, away from the eyes of the company’s managers, some workers expressed a slightly more skeptical attitude: some felt that it gave the feeling that they were “cogs in a machine”, while others wondered if they were “on a sinking ship”.

Actually, judging by the numerous reputational crises suffered by Facebook in recent years (and which many see as the motivation for the change of name to ‘Meta’), the company already gave that feeling… which would only have been aggravated after it became known a few weeks ago that the social network had lost users for the first time in its entire history.


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