Israel’s social media users are mocking Facebook’s new company name, Meta, because it sounds like the Hebrew word for “dead.”
The hashtag #FacebookDead was used by many Twitter users to mock the social media company’s rebrand, which was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week. “Somebody did not do their #branding research,” one post read.
Dr Nirit Weiss-Blatt, author of The Techlash and Tech Crisis Communication, tweeted: “In Hebrew, Meta means Dead The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come.”
“Grave error?? Facebook’s new name Meta means dead in Hebrew. Hilarious.
FacebookDead” another user tweeted.
Facebook’s efforts to rebrand come as the company is embroiled in what could be its most serious scandal since its inception in 2004.
Following the publication this week of “The Facebook Papers,” a series of internal documents obtained by 17 news organizations, that back up whistleblower Frances Haugen’s claims that the company is riddled with institutional flaws, the social media giant is in the spotlight.
The documents show how Facebook spreads misinformation, struggles to remove human trafficking-related content from its site, and tries to grow its teen audience, despite internal research suggesting that its platforms, particularly Instagram, can have an adverse effect on their mental health.
Facebook isn’t the first company to be mocked because its branding failed to translate internationally.
Kim Kardashian West was accused of cultural appropriation in 2019 after launching her shapewear line, which she dubbed Kimono at the time. Kardashian even appeared to have trademarked the term “kimono,” which Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa slammed in an open letter on Facebook.
“We think that the names for ‘Kimono’ are the asset shared with all humanity who love Kimono and its culture therefore they should not be monopolized,” Kadokawa wrote.
Later that year, Kardashian changed the name of her company to Skims.