• Ofer Zeevy

As Facebook rebrands to Meta, what did the public think?

Updated: Jul 7

Fans of Superman are familiar with the saying that appears whenever people notice him floating in the sky: "is it a plane? No! Is it a bird? No! It's Superman". Fans of Facebook, who watched its founder Mark Zuckerberg's special annual presentation on October 29th, were probably saying to themselves something like: "is it a game? No! Is it just a virtual world? No! It's Metaverse". In his 80-minutes presentation, Zuckerberg delivered his forecast for the next phase, well, of society, in what he termed the "next version of the internet", our "immersive future'' or "a virtual world of embedded internet". If he succeeds, we will all spend work and leisure time inside this world with our avatars, and not only text to a platform from the outside as we do today.

Person looking through binoculars with Facebook logo

Facebook had its share of problems in recent months, the latest coming from the exposure of former FB employee Frances Haugen and the Facebook files. It has also seen many kids and teens switch over to Tik Tok while facing claims that it mishandles "hate speeches" and false information inside its post pages. But criticism aside, Facebook still is immensely popular worldwide. In a world with a total population of 7.9 billion, as per Worldometers, the company monthly active users stood, as per Facebook 2021 Q3 report, at 2.91 billion. Simply put, 37% of the world's population uses Facebook actively at least once a month. And now the company aims and is investing billions of dollars, in developing this new world it hopes many of us will join.

Facebook also announced that starting with 2021's Q4, it will implement a new two-divisions structure, one for its family of applications (its current social media services) and one for Facebook Reality Labs, which includes augmented and virtual reality related consumer hardware, software, and content. The Oct. 28th presentation signaled that the spotlight now is turning towards the AR and VR worlds, or as Zuckerberg termed it best by concluding that from now on it is "Metaverse first."

But how did consumers and the general public react to Facebook rebranding its name to "Meta" and what did they think of this new digital world? During the first three days after Zuckerberg's presentation, Affogata gathered tens of thousands of conversations from the open web. The results were quite interesting.

Based on 63,200 posts tracked and analyzed in those first three days, negative sentiments drew double the score of the positive ones while all others were neutral. Cumulatively, the Facebook change resulted in a 3.1 low reputation score. Twitter was by far the top platform on which people reacted.

Variations on the brand change also were negative: “Facebook meta” or “Meta facebook” showed a 2.6 negative score each. Topping them and also all other related mentions was Mark Zuckerberg himself, gathering a 4.5 negative score. Facebook’s CEO also saw his name mentioned in almost 11% of all mentions, obviously stating that this was his show and responsibility and that the public was mostly not impressed by vision.

Finally, there was good news for some people following the presentation. Stocks of metaverse-related companies in the A-share market soared following Zuckerberg’s presentation and that showed positively in the total 955 posts discussing “Facebook”, “Meta” and “stocks”. Positive and negative mentions there were almost even for a 4.9 positive brand sentiment score, bigger than the overall 3.1 results.

Affogata's customer feedback platform specializes in analyzing huge real-time collections of online conversations from multiple channels, in order to present companies with an accurate picture of their customer's voice. Companies are then able to make actionable insights and decisions from our data, regarding their products and services, branding efforts, and much more.


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