Meta. Metamates. Me.
At a virtual all-hands meeting on Tuesday, Facebook escalated its attempts not only to rebrand itself but to manage its demoralized and often adversarial workforce with a new set of corporate values derived from a naval slogan.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who renamed the company Meta late last year, held up a slide deck showingcasing new corporate values: Employees would be expected to first prioritize Meta, followed by a person’s team (metamates), followed by the individual (me). He said that the company’s corporate values would be “live in the future” and “be direct and respect your colleagues,” according to three people familiar with the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal matters.
Years ago, the company’s slogan of “move fast and break things” was changed to just “move fast.” On Tuesday, the company announced it would now be “move fast together.”
The changes to the corporate values were ridiculed by some employees internally, who described it as corporate indoctrination and out of touch, the people said.
Facebook did not immediately have comment.
In a tweet, Facebook’s chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth said that the saying “Meta. Metamates. Me.” was a “reference to a Naval phrase which Instagram has used for a while “Ship, Shipmates, Self,” and that the term “metamates” was coined by the scholar Douglas Hofstadter after an employee reached out to him for ideas.
The changes reflect Facebook’s pursuit of a new identity after years of controversies that have demoralized its workforce. The company changed its name to Meta to help shift the focus to building hardware, a rebranding that followed revelations by a whistle blower that showed how much the company knew about its damage to society, including negatively impacting the body image of young women and allowing disinformation to spread.
The town hall meeting was also streamed for the first time on Facebook’s virtual reality platform Horizon. The company is attempting to demonstrate the idea that corporate meetings could be held in virtual reality, starting to use its town halls as a test case.
The company’s more than 71,000 employees communicate with one another on Workplace, an internal chat system that looks like Facebook. Employees in the past have engaged in deep debates on Workplace about everything from Black Lives Matter to the election. They also posted internal research about products and the company’s impact on society.
Last year whistleblower Frances Haugen came forward with thousands of company documents that were posted on Workplace showing the company’s research into social harms. Since the Haugen revelations, Facebook has made attempts to shut down certain conversations on Workplace, either by closing groups that were open to larger numbers of people or by having communications personnel tell employees that posted critical comments that they were disrespectful.
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The Washington Post’s Will Oremus and Nitasha Tiku contributed reporting.