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Fatal flaw

Facebook’s new Meta handle means ‘dead’ in Hebrew

‘Don’t worry, we’re on it,’ tweets the ZAKA emergency service after the rebranding announcement, as Hebrew-speaking social media users poke fun at name change

Facebook employees take a photo with the company's new name and logo outside its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Thursday, October 28, 2021, after the company announced that it is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Facebook employees take a photo with the company's new name and logo outside its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Thursday, October 28, 2021, after the company announced that it is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Facebook’s announcement on Thursday that the company would henceforth be called Meta was widely ridiculed on social media. But in Israel, the renaming caused quite a stir, as the new company name is similar to the Hebrew word for “dead.”

“In Hebrew, *Meta* means *Dead*,” tweeted Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a tech expert, in response to the company’s announcement. “The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come,” she added.

The ZAKA emergency service, which specializes in collecting body parts following accidents or attacks to ensure a proper Jewish burial, tweeted: “Don’t worry, we’re on it.”

ZAKA added the Hebrew hashtag פייסבוק_מתה#, meaning Facebook_Dead, but pronounced Facebook_Meta.

Others who caught on to the humourous translation tweeted the hashtag #FacebookDead.

The new handle comes as the social media giant tries to fend off one of its worst crises yet and pivot to its ambitions for the “metaverse” virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.

In explaining the rebrand, Zuckerberg said the name “Facebook” just doesn’t encompass “everything we do” anymore. Zuckerberg’s network includes Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more — all in addition to Facebook.

Zuckerberg has described the metaverse as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen. Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.

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