Facebook has rebranded as all-caps FACEBOOK in order to remind people “which company makes the products they use,” inviting mockery from social media as it dodges the problems plaguing the billion-user mega-platform.
Facebook will slap the new all-caps logo in a thin-lettered typeface on its subsidiaries, while its old logo will remain the identifier for the Facebook app and social network, the social media behemoth announced on Monday.
As for the issues that have seen CEO Mark Zuckerberg hauled into Congress and raked over the coals by Facebook users? Those can wait for another day, apparently.
“This brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences,” Facebook announced in a statement that revealed Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Portal, and other subsidiaries – including the troubled digital currency division Calibra – would now feature FACEBOOK branding.
The company, which claims 1.58 billion daily active users on its namesake platform, slapped its branding on subsidiaries earlier this year, but apparently wants to further distinguish the parent corporation from a social network that is dwindling in popularity in North America and in younger age groups.
Many social media users exhibited collective bemusement over the rebranding, recalling how Facebook had started out life as “The Facebook” back in 2004, in a more innocent age.
Not everyone was willing to let the third-richest man in the US off the hook with a gentle ribbing over the company’s logo, however. Facebook has been eviscerated by liberals complaining about its policy of not fact-checking political ads, with critics claiming this laissez-faire approach leaves the platform open to exploitation by the purveyors of fake news.
More recently, they collectively flew off the handle when several outlets reported that Facebook’s new News tab included articles from Breitbart, a conservative outlet once run by former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon.
Several times this year Zuckerberg appeared before the US Congress to answer questions about the company’s Libra digital currency, dodging attacks from lawmakers livid over Facebook’s cavalier treatment of users’ data and the idea it might soon be able to treat their financial transactions with similar nonchalance.
Libra has hit regulatory hurdles in the US and Europe alike, despite Zuckerberg’s decision to partner with financial corporations including Visa and PayPal – both of which have since deserted the project, leaving him high and dry.
Facebook is also the subject of multiple antitrust investigations in the US and has been hit with penalties in Germany, the UK, and Russia for various legal violations. The company was recently hit with a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission for persistent violations of users’ privacy after ignoring an earlier agreement not to share personal info without the knowledge or consent of users.
It’s difficult to see how a little font change could make these problems disappear, but it’s not the first Big Tech firm to undergo such a transformation. Google rebranded to Alphabet in 2015, though the search giant is also being investigated for antitrust violations.