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声誉太差,Facebook公司将于近期改名

声誉太差,Facebook公司将于近期改名

 DAVID MEYER 2021年10月25日
Facebook也将通过此次更名,表现出它对“元宇宙”宏伟蓝图的重视。

据报道,Facebook公司(注意,是公司而不是软件)正在打算更改公司名称。听到这个消息,广大网友纷纷在社交媒体上贡献智慧,表示FaceSpace、MetaBood、FaceVerse、FCBK、ZuckFace都是不错的选择。

《The Verge》杂志关于Facebook下周改名的报道,让广大网友纷纷玩起了谐音梗。Facebook也将通过此次更名,表现出它对“元宇宙”宏伟蓝图的重视。另外,这也反映出过去几年,Facebook的名声大不如前,它也确实需要改名来提高一下形象了。

回首2019年年中的时候,该公司给旗下其他产品的登陆界面也打上了“来自Facebook”的标签,这显然是在彰显Facebook的主权。据报道,当时Facebook虽然接连做出了Instagram和WhatsApp等重要收购,但公司的声誉却并不算好,对此马克·扎克伯格深感沮丧。而大声地、骄傲地喊出Facebook的名字,也意味着Facebook在幕后为了各平台的整合做了大量工作。

有意思的是,当时Facebook公司也考虑过更名,但最终还是决定不这么做。2019年11月,Facebook首席市场官安东尼奥·卢西奥对TechCrunch公司的约什·康斯坦丁表示:“我们要考虑所有选项,但保留公司的名字也是很重要的。”

卢西奥接着说道:“我们以前一直是、今后也将继续是Facebook。只有保留了公司的名字,我们才能拥有我们所支持的东西,才能贯彻我们的决定,才能履行我们对人们的承诺,才能决定我们的各个品牌相互之间的关系。”

请记住,这已经是在涉剑桥分析公司的丑闻爆发之后的事了。雪上加霜的是,公司创始总裁肖恩·帕克、用户增长官查玛斯·帕里哈皮蒂亚等前高管还站出来指责Facebook“摧毁了社会的运行方式”。另外在此之前,连Facebook公司自己都承认,它没能及时阻止其平台在缅甸被用作种族灭绝的工具。但即便是在这样被动的局面之下,Facebook都没有考虑更名的问题。

不过此后,Facebook的声誉又遭受了一连串打击,有些事件或许正与Facebook不断扩大的用户群有关。比如今年,Facebook的“吹哨人”苏菲·张和弗朗西斯·豪根对Facebook提出了更严厉的指控。苏菲·张是Facebook的一名数据科学家,她指责Facebook没有阻止“外国政府公然大肆利用Facebook平台误导其国民”。而Facebook的产品经理豪根则表示,作为一家“道德破产”的公司,Facebook为了利润不惜损害儿童的心理健康,特别是在Instagram平台上。社交媒体对普通用户的两极分化效应在Facebook上表现的淋漓尽致,从涉疫苗的虚假信息上就可见一斑。

反垄断机构虎视眈眈

Facebook之所以想自己“有毒”的名字从其他资产上抹去,还有其他一些原因。最迫切的一个原因,就是立法部门和反垄断机构对它的严格审查。

在美国,联邦贸易委员会以Facebook涉嫌滥用市场支配地位为由,想要将它拆分。而在欧洲,反垄断部门也已介入Facebook对纽约的一家客户关系管理公司Kustomer的收购动议,因为他们不希望Facebook通过大肆收购扼杀潜在的竞争对手。当然,只靠更名并不能让Facebook变得低调,但这至少表明Facebook已经愿意摆出低调的姿态了。

总部位于伦敦和纽约的设计与品牌咨询公司Pentagram的合伙人乔迪·哈德逊·鲍威尔指出:“改名当然可以帮助一家公司度过难关。但对于这些巨头来说,简单改个名字并不能改变什么,他们都怎么躲藏都无所遁形。”

当然,Facebook改名的另一个原因,可能是扎克伯格真的很相信“元宇宙”的概念,他把元宇宙称为“下一代的互联网,我们公司的新篇章”。而Facebook品牌则已经成了公司的遗产。这种推测并非没有证据支持。就在上周日,Facebook公司还表示,未来五年,它将在欧洲雇佣1万人开发线上“元宇宙”。(目前欧洲立法机构正在考虑多角度打压大型科技公司,另一方面,Facebook却仍然承诺要提供这么多的高技能就业岗位,这绝对是个巧合。)

虽然元宇宙战略的确解释了Facebook改名的理由,但对于改名带来的影响,仍有必要谨慎视之。比如谷歌在2015年建立了母品牌Alphabet。当时的CEO拉里·佩奇表示,Alphabet“要做更伟大的事情”,“要看得更长远”。6年过去了,Alphabet本质上仍然是一家非常成功的广告公司,同时也在做一些研究项目。虽然这个母品牌本来就不是面向消费者的,但大多数人仍然习惯地称整个公司为谷歌。

到目前为止,Facebook在社交媒体和即时通讯之外的投资仍然收效甚微。Facebook在2018年放弃了互联网无人机项目,它的虚拟币项目也被一砍再砍。它的Oculus VR设备业务仍然属于一个小众市场。也许“元宇宙”会改变这一切——抑或改名后的Facebook仍然只能与它声誉越来越低的核心产品绑定在一起。

Yvonne Lau对本文的报道有贡献。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

据报道,Facebook公司(注意,是公司而不是软件)正在打算更改公司名称。听到这个消息,广大网友纷纷在社交媒体上贡献智慧,表示FaceSpace、MetaBood、FaceVerse、FCBK、ZuckFace都是不错的选择。

《The Verge》杂志关于Facebook下周改名的报道,让广大网友纷纷玩起了谐音梗。Facebook也将通过此次更名,表现出它对“元宇宙”宏伟蓝图的重视。另外,这也反映出过去几年,Facebook的名声大不如前,它也确实需要改名来提高一下形象了。

回首2019年年中的时候,该公司给旗下其他产品的登陆界面也打上了“来自Facebook”的标签,这显然是在彰显Facebook的主权。据报道,当时Facebook虽然接连做出了Instagram和WhatsApp等重要收购,但公司的声誉却并不算好,对此马克·扎克伯格深感沮丧。而大声地、骄傲地喊出Facebook的名字,也意味着Facebook在幕后为了各平台的整合做了大量工作。

有意思的是,当时Facebook公司也考虑过更名,但最终还是决定不这么做。2019年11月,Facebook首席市场官安东尼奥·卢西奥对TechCrunch公司的约什·康斯坦丁表示:“我们要考虑所有选项,但保留公司的名字也是很重要的。”

卢西奥接着说道:“我们以前一直是、今后也将继续是Facebook。只有保留了公司的名字,我们才能拥有我们所支持的东西,才能贯彻我们的决定,才能履行我们对人们的承诺,才能决定我们的各个品牌相互之间的关系。”

请记住,这已经是在涉剑桥分析公司的丑闻爆发之后的事了。雪上加霜的是,公司创始总裁肖恩·帕克、用户增长官查玛斯·帕里哈皮蒂亚等前高管还站出来指责Facebook“摧毁了社会的运行方式”。另外在此之前,连Facebook公司自己都承认,它没能及时阻止其平台在缅甸被用作种族灭绝的工具。但即便是在这样被动的局面之下,Facebook都没有考虑更名的问题。

不过此后,Facebook的声誉又遭受了一连串打击,有些事件或许正与Facebook不断扩大的用户群有关。比如今年,Facebook的“吹哨人”苏菲·张和弗朗西斯·豪根对Facebook提出了更严厉的指控。苏菲·张是Facebook的一名数据科学家,她指责Facebook没有阻止“外国政府公然大肆利用Facebook平台误导其国民”。而Facebook的产品经理豪根则表示,作为一家“道德破产”的公司,Facebook为了利润不惜损害儿童的心理健康,特别是在Instagram平台上。社交媒体对普通用户的两极分化效应在Facebook上表现的淋漓尽致,从涉疫苗的虚假信息上就可见一斑。

反垄断机构虎视眈眈

Facebook之所以想自己“有毒”的名字从其他资产上抹去,还有其他一些原因。最迫切的一个原因,就是立法部门和反垄断机构对它的严格审查。

在美国,联邦贸易委员会以Facebook涉嫌滥用市场支配地位为由,想要将它拆分。而在欧洲,反垄断部门也已介入Facebook对纽约的一家客户关系管理公司Kustomer的收购动议,因为他们不希望Facebook通过大肆收购扼杀潜在的竞争对手。当然,只靠更名并不能让Facebook变得低调,但这至少表明Facebook已经愿意摆出低调的姿态了。

总部位于伦敦和纽约的设计与品牌咨询公司Pentagram的合伙人乔迪·哈德逊·鲍威尔指出:“改名当然可以帮助一家公司度过难关。但对于这些巨头来说,简单改个名字并不能改变什么,他们都怎么躲藏都无所遁形。”

当然,Facebook改名的另一个原因,可能是扎克伯格真的很相信“元宇宙”的概念,他把元宇宙称为“下一代的互联网,我们公司的新篇章”。而Facebook品牌则已经成了公司的遗产。这种推测并非没有证据支持。就在上周日,Facebook公司还表示,未来五年,它将在欧洲雇佣1万人开发线上“元宇宙”。(目前欧洲立法机构正在考虑多角度打压大型科技公司,另一方面,Facebook却仍然承诺要提供这么多的高技能就业岗位,这绝对是个巧合。)

虽然元宇宙战略的确解释了Facebook改名的理由,但对于改名带来的影响,仍有必要谨慎视之。比如谷歌在2015年建立了母品牌Alphabet。当时的CEO拉里·佩奇表示,Alphabet“要做更伟大的事情”,“要看得更长远”。6年过去了,Alphabet本质上仍然是一家非常成功的广告公司,同时也在做一些研究项目。虽然这个母品牌本来就不是面向消费者的,但大多数人仍然习惯地称整个公司为谷歌。

到目前为止,Facebook在社交媒体和即时通讯之外的投资仍然收效甚微。Facebook在2018年放弃了互联网无人机项目,它的虚拟币项目也被一砍再砍。它的Oculus VR设备业务仍然属于一个小众市场。也许“元宇宙”会改变这一切——抑或改名后的Facebook仍然只能与它声誉越来越低的核心产品绑定在一起。

Yvonne Lau对本文的报道有贡献。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

FaceSpace? MetaBook? FaceVerse? FCBK? ZuckFace? Facebook—the company, as opposed to the service—is reportedly heading for a rebrand, and the social media wags are out in force.

But while The Verge's scoop about next week's name change provides natural fodder for hilarity, and while the reported motivation lies in Facebook's big "metaverse" reorientation, it also reflects just how dire the last couple of years have been for Facebook and its reputation.

Rewind to mid-2019, when the company started plastering "from FACEBOOK" on the log-in screens for its other products, and the strategy was clearly one of proud ownership under the Facebook banner. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly frustrated that Facebook wasn't getting enough credit for growing key acquisitions such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Shouting the Facebook name loudly and proudly also reflected work going on behind the scenes to unify the various apps' messaging systems.

Interestingly, the company considered changing its corporate identity back then, and decided not to. "We had to consider all options but decided that it was important to keep the company name," chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio told TechCrunch's Josh Constine in November 2019.

"We always have been and will continue to be Facebook," Lucio continued. "It was important to retain the company’s name in order to own what we stand for, the decisions we make, our responsibility to people, and how our brands relate to each other."

Bear in mind that this was already after the Cambridge Analytica scandal had broken, and after former executives such as founding president Sean Parker and user-growth chief Chamath Palihapitiya had taken to accusing the company of things like "destroying how society works." It was even after Facebook admitted having been too slow to stop its platform from being used as a tool of genocide in Myanmar.

But the company's reputation has continued to take a battering since then, in ways that may seem more relevant to Facebook's wider user base. This year, whistleblowers Sophie Zhang and Frances Haugen have laid serious allegations at the company's door. Data scientist Zhang accused her former employer of failing to stop "blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry," while product manager Haugen said the "morally bankrupt" firm was harming children's mental health for profit, particularly on the Instagram platform. Social media's polarizing effects are apparent to regular users, as is its role in lethal vaccine disinformation.

Regulators circling

There are other reasons why Facebook might want to take its toxic name off its other properties, the most urgent being the heavy scrutiny of antitrust authorities and lawmakers.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to break Facebook up into its constituent parts, on the basis that Facebook has abused its market-dominating position. In Europe, antitrust regulators have stepped in to review Facebook's proposed acquisition of a New York–based customer relationship management startup called Kustomer, because they don't want Facebook to keep buying up and killing potential rivals. Facebook changing its name wouldn't take the heat off, of course, but it could at least denote a less defiant stance.

"Of course, a name change can help a company move past a crisis," said Jody Hudson-Powell, a partner at the London and New York–based design and brand consultancy Pentagram. "However, a simple change for these giants wouldn't change much. They'd be hiding in plain sight."

Of course, it could be that Zuckerberg really is so all-in on the idea of the "metaverse"—the "next generation of the Internet and next chapter for us as a company," as he has called it—that he sees the Facebook brand as becoming part of the company's legacy. There is certainly other evidence for this bullishness, with Facebook saying Sunday that it will hire 10,000 people in Europe to build the online world over the next five years. (That the firm is promising so many high-skilled jobs in a jurisdiction where lawmakers are currently considering multiple crackdowns on Big Tech must surely be coincidental.)

But even if the metaverse does explain the rebranding, there is reason to be cautious about its impact. When Google introduced its Alphabet parent brand in 2015, then-CEO Larry Page enthused about "getting more ambitious things done" and "taking the long-term view." Six years later, Alphabet is still essentially a very successful ad company with various research initiatives tacked on. And although the parent brand was never supposed to be consumer-facing, most people still refer to the entire company as Google.

Facebook's ventures outside social media and messaging have so far borne little fruit. It abandoned its Internet-drone project in 2018, and its attempts to become a cryptocurrency player keep getting scaled back. Its Oculus virtual reality gaming headset business remains niche. Maybe the metaverse will change all that—or maybe Facebook will remain tied to the identity of its increasingly unpopular core product.

Yvonne Lau contributed reporting to this article.

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