In its latest rebranding move, Meta, formerly Facebook, is changing the way it refers to its employees. On February 15, 2022, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the employees would now be called “Metamates”.
In a virtual all-hands meeting, he revealed new company values, which included a nod to an old maritime proverb.
Zuckerberg wants employees to put the ship and crew first
Meta’s CEO said in a Facebook post that he wanted the workforce to adopt a new meta: “Meta, MetaMates, Me.” This refers to the naval phrase “ship, shipmates, self”, which Instagram had been using internally for some time.
This concept has long been discussed in business organizational circles as a way to increase efficiency.
Meta’s future CTO Andrew Bosworth said that the term “metamates” was coined by none other than Douglas Hofstadter, a Pulitzer-prize-winning cognitive scientist who taught machines to think. This happened when an employee emailed him about rebranding ideas after Facebook became meta. Hofstadter initially suggested the simpler name “Teammates” and added Metamates as another possibility in a footnote.
Meta’s employees are not the first members of a workforce to be given a special title: Zappos calls its employees Zaponians, Accenture has Accenturians, and Pinterest has Pinploys. Nicknames are given to employees to make them feel like an integral part of the organization. These names convey a sense of teamwork and group identity and create a warm atmosphere at work.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg noted, “Meta, Metamates, Me is about being good stewards of our company and mission. It’s about building a sense of responsibility for our collective success and toward each other as teammates.” It’s about taking care of our company and each other.”
building the next chapter of meta
Mark Zuckerberg announced several other changes during the meeting, including moving away from his previous emphasis on “moving fast” and the concept of “moving fast together”. He emphasized Facebook’s focus on long-term growth and shared other guiding principles that will shape Meta’s work in Facebook posts for years to come.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is threatening to shut down its European operations if EU regulators do not allow the company to share personal user data back to the United States. The SEC filing relates to a major EU Court of Justice decision, Shrems II, which declared the longstanding EU/US data-sharing tool, Privacy Shield, no longer legal.
The move brings to light the data collection and transfer practices of several major tech companies, though Meta is the first to make an official statement on the situation and how it could affect its business — and its users.
Meta’s primary business is selling advertising space based on the data it collects on its users. Instagram and Facebook have approximately 400 million and 500 million users. Losing this data would be extremely detrimental to Meta’s targeted advertising (despite Meta’s claims to the contrary).
Why is Privacy Shield not legal anymore?
So, back in 2011, Austrian lawyer Maximilian Schrems analyzed 1,222 pages of information about Facebook after requesting data from the company. She found that Facebook had information she believed she had removed from the service along with other information that had been shared without her permission. Schrems lodged a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, where Facebook was registered for tax purposes.