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            聲譽太差,Facebook公司將于近期改名

            聲譽太差,Facebook公司將于近期改名

             DAVID MEYER 2021年10月25日
            Facebook也將通過此次更名,表現出它對“元宇宙”宏偉藍圖的重視。

            據報道,Facebook公司(注意,是公司而不是軟件)正在打算更改公司名稱。聽到這個消息,廣大網友紛紛在社交媒體上貢獻智慧,表示FaceSpace、MetaBood、FaceVerse、FCBK、ZuckFace都是不錯的選擇。

            《The Verge》雜志關于Facebook下周改名的報道,讓廣大網友紛紛玩起了諧音梗。Facebook也將通過此次更名,表現出它對“元宇宙”宏偉藍圖的重視。另外,這也反映出過去幾年,Facebook的名聲大不如前,它也確實需要改名來提高一下形象了。

            回首2019年年中的時候,該公司給旗下其他產品的登陸界面也打上了“來自Facebook”的標簽,這顯然是在彰顯Facebook的主權。據報道,當時Facebook雖然接連做出了Instagram和WhatsApp等重要收購,但公司的聲譽卻并不算好,對此馬克·扎克伯格深感沮喪。而大聲地、驕傲地喊出Facebook的名字,也意味著Facebook在幕后為了各平臺的整合做了大量工作。

            有意思的是,當時Facebook公司也考慮過更名,但最終還是決定不這么做。2019年11月,Facebook首席市場官安東尼奧·盧西奧對TechCrunch公司的約什·康斯坦丁表示:“我們要考慮所有選項,但保留公司的名字也是很重要的?!?/p>

            盧西奧接著說道:“我們以前一直是、今后也將繼續是Facebook。只有保留了公司的名字,我們才能擁有我們所支持的東西,才能貫徹我們的決定,才能履行我們對人們的承諾,才能決定我們的各個品牌相互之間的關系?!?/p>

            請記住,這已經是在涉劍橋分析公司的丑聞爆發之后的事了。雪上加霜的是,公司創始總裁肖恩·帕克、用戶增長官查瑪斯·帕里哈皮蒂亞等前高管還站出來指責Facebook“摧毀了社會的運行方式”。另外在此之前,連Facebook公司自己都承認,它沒能及時阻止其平臺在緬甸被用作種族滅絕的工具。但即便是在這樣被動的局面之下,Facebook都沒有考慮更名的問題。

            不過此后,Facebook的聲譽又遭受了一連串打擊,有些事件或許正與Facebook不斷擴大的用戶群有關。比如今年,Facebook的“吹哨人”蘇菲·張和弗朗西斯·豪根對Facebook提出了更嚴厲的指控。蘇菲·張是Facebook的一名數據科學家,她指責Facebook沒有阻止“外國政府公然大肆利用Facebook平臺誤導其國民”。而Facebook的產品經理豪根則表示,作為一家“道德破產”的公司,Facebook為了利潤不惜損害兒童的心理健康,特別是在Instagram平臺上。社交媒體對普通用戶的兩極分化效應在Facebook上表現的淋漓盡致,從涉疫苗的虛假信息上就可見一斑。

            反壟斷機構虎視眈眈

            Facebook之所以想自己“有毒”的名字從其他資產上抹去,還有其他一些原因。最迫切的一個原因,就是立法部門和反壟斷機構對它的嚴格審查。

            在美國,聯邦貿易委員會以Facebook涉嫌濫用市場支配地位為由,想要將它拆分。而在歐洲,反壟斷部門也已介入Facebook對紐約的一家客戶關系管理公司Kustomer的收購動議,因為他們不希望Facebook通過大肆收購扼殺潛在的競爭對手。當然,只靠更名并不能讓Facebook變得低調,但這至少表明Facebook已經愿意擺出低調的姿態了。

            總部位于倫敦和紐約的設計與品牌咨詢公司Pentagram的合伙人喬迪·哈德遜·鮑威爾指出:“改名當然可以幫助一家公司度過難關。但對于這些巨頭來說,簡單改個名字并不能改變什么,他們都怎么躲藏都無所遁形?!?/p>

            當然,Facebook改名的另一個原因,可能是扎克伯格真的很相信“元宇宙”的概念,他把元宇宙稱為“下一代的互聯網,我們公司的新篇章”。而Facebook品牌則已經成了公司的遺產。這種推測并非沒有證據支持。就在上周日,Facebook公司還表示,未來五年,它將在歐洲雇傭1萬人開發線上“元宇宙”。(目前歐洲立法機構正在考慮多角度打壓大型科技公司,另一方面,Facebook卻仍然承諾要提供這么多的高技能就業崗位,這絕對是個巧合。)

            雖然元宇宙戰略的確解釋了Facebook改名的理由,但對于改名帶來的影響,仍有必要謹慎視之。比如谷歌在2015年建立了母品牌Alphabet。當時的CEO拉里·佩奇表示,Alphabet“要做更偉大的事情”,“要看得更長遠”。6年過去了,Alphabet本質上仍然是一家非常成功的廣告公司,同時也在做一些研究項目。雖然這個母品牌本來就不是面向消費者的,但大多數人仍然習慣地稱整個公司為谷歌。

            到目前為止,Facebook在社交媒體和即時通訊之外的投資仍然收效甚微。Facebook在2018年放棄了互聯網無人機項目,它的虛擬幣項目也被一砍再砍。它的Oculus VR設備業務仍然屬于一個小眾市場。也許“元宇宙”會改變這一切——抑或改名后的Facebook仍然只能與它聲譽越來越低的核心產品綁定在一起。

            Yvonne Lau對本文的報道有貢獻。(財富中文網)

            譯者:樸成奎

            據報道,Facebook公司(注意,是公司而不是軟件)正在打算更改公司名稱。聽到這個消息,廣大網友紛紛在社交媒體上貢獻智慧,表示FaceSpace、MetaBood、FaceVerse、FCBK、ZuckFace都是不錯的選擇。

            《The Verge》雜志關于Facebook下周改名的報道,讓廣大網友紛紛玩起了諧音梗。Facebook也將通過此次更名,表現出它對“元宇宙”宏偉藍圖的重視。另外,這也反映出過去幾年,Facebook的名聲大不如前,它也確實需要改名來提高一下形象了。

            回首2019年年中的時候,該公司給旗下其他產品的登陸界面也打上了“來自Facebook”的標簽,這顯然是在彰顯Facebook的主權。據報道,當時Facebook雖然接連做出了Instagram和WhatsApp等重要收購,但公司的聲譽卻并不算好,對此馬克·扎克伯格深感沮喪。而大聲地、驕傲地喊出Facebook的名字,也意味著Facebook在幕后為了各平臺的整合做了大量工作。

            有意思的是,當時Facebook公司也考慮過更名,但最終還是決定不這么做。2019年11月,Facebook首席市場官安東尼奧·盧西奧對TechCrunch公司的約什·康斯坦丁表示:“我們要考慮所有選項,但保留公司的名字也是很重要的?!?/p>

            盧西奧接著說道:“我們以前一直是、今后也將繼續是Facebook。只有保留了公司的名字,我們才能擁有我們所支持的東西,才能貫徹我們的決定,才能履行我們對人們的承諾,才能決定我們的各個品牌相互之間的關系?!?/p>

            請記住,這已經是在涉劍橋分析公司的丑聞爆發之后的事了。雪上加霜的是,公司創始總裁肖恩·帕克、用戶增長官查瑪斯·帕里哈皮蒂亞等前高管還站出來指責Facebook“摧毀了社會的運行方式”。另外在此之前,連Facebook公司自己都承認,它沒能及時阻止其平臺在緬甸被用作種族滅絕的工具。但即便是在這樣被動的局面之下,Facebook都沒有考慮更名的問題。

            不過此后,Facebook的聲譽又遭受了一連串打擊,有些事件或許正與Facebook不斷擴大的用戶群有關。比如今年,Facebook的“吹哨人”蘇菲·張和弗朗西斯·豪根對Facebook提出了更嚴厲的指控。蘇菲·張是Facebook的一名數據科學家,她指責Facebook沒有阻止“外國政府公然大肆利用Facebook平臺誤導其國民”。而Facebook的產品經理豪根則表示,作為一家“道德破產”的公司,Facebook為了利潤不惜損害兒童的心理健康,特別是在Instagram平臺上。社交媒體對普通用戶的兩極分化效應在Facebook上表現的淋漓盡致,從涉疫苗的虛假信息上就可見一斑。

            反壟斷機構虎視眈眈

            Facebook之所以想自己“有毒”的名字從其他資產上抹去,還有其他一些原因。最迫切的一個原因,就是立法部門和反壟斷機構對它的嚴格審查。

            在美國,聯邦貿易委員會以Facebook涉嫌濫用市場支配地位為由,想要將它拆分。而在歐洲,反壟斷部門也已介入Facebook對紐約的一家客戶關系管理公司Kustomer的收購動議,因為他們不希望Facebook通過大肆收購扼殺潛在的競爭對手。當然,只靠更名并不能讓Facebook變得低調,但這至少表明Facebook已經愿意擺出低調的姿態了。

            總部位于倫敦和紐約的設計與品牌咨詢公司Pentagram的合伙人喬迪·哈德遜·鮑威爾指出:“改名當然可以幫助一家公司度過難關。但對于這些巨頭來說,簡單改個名字并不能改變什么,他們都怎么躲藏都無所遁形?!?/p>

            當然,Facebook改名的另一個原因,可能是扎克伯格真的很相信“元宇宙”的概念,他把元宇宙稱為“下一代的互聯網,我們公司的新篇章”。而Facebook品牌則已經成了公司的遺產。這種推測并非沒有證據支持。就在上周日,Facebook公司還表示,未來五年,它將在歐洲雇傭1萬人開發線上“元宇宙”。(目前歐洲立法機構正在考慮多角度打壓大型科技公司,另一方面,Facebook卻仍然承諾要提供這么多的高技能就業崗位,這絕對是個巧合。)

            雖然元宇宙戰略的確解釋了Facebook改名的理由,但對于改名帶來的影響,仍有必要謹慎視之。比如谷歌在2015年建立了母品牌Alphabet。當時的CEO拉里·佩奇表示,Alphabet“要做更偉大的事情”,“要看得更長遠”。6年過去了,Alphabet本質上仍然是一家非常成功的廣告公司,同時也在做一些研究項目。雖然這個母品牌本來就不是面向消費者的,但大多數人仍然習慣地稱整個公司為谷歌。

            到目前為止,Facebook在社交媒體和即時通訊之外的投資仍然收效甚微。Facebook在2018年放棄了互聯網無人機項目,它的虛擬幣項目也被一砍再砍。它的Oculus VR設備業務仍然屬于一個小眾市場。也許“元宇宙”會改變這一切——抑或改名后的Facebook仍然只能與它聲譽越來越低的核心產品綁定在一起。

            Yvonne Lau對本文的報道有貢獻。(財富中文網)

            譯者:樸成奎

            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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