Giggles, snickers and some awkwardness greeted Facebook’s decision to change its corporate name to Meta.
Jokesters poked fun at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg , who is Jewish, because “meta” is pronounced like the feminine form of the Hebrew word for “dead,”, according to the Times of Israel .
“In Hebrew, Meta means Dead,” Dr. Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a tech expert, tweeted on Thursday. “The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come.”
Other social media users piled on.
Zuckerberg said the name Facebook does not cover “everything we do” at a time when his empire includes Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more. Zuckerberg explained that the metaverse is a form of the virtual world where everyone is connected by virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses and phone apps.
Sounds chic. But the label? Aye, there’s the rub.
In Portuguese and Spanish, the word is not so troubling because it means “goal.” In Brazil, however, the word has a sexual connotation, according to Bloomberg .
Zuckerberg’s announcement was a boon for Nova Scotia-based Meta Materials. The company’s stock rose 26 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday, when Zuckerberg made his announcement, and another 6 percent on Friday, according to Reuters .
George Palikaras, the CEO of Meta Materials, tweeted a metaverse welcome to Facebook.
Name changes can often fail in translation.
Kentucky Fried Chicken learned that when it entered the Chinese market in the 1980s, according to the BBC .
The restaurant’s “finger lickin’ good” motto, when translated into Mandarin, came out “eat your fingers off.