From one Metta to another, “Really cool.”
Basketball legend Metta World Peace offered that two-word summation for the corporate rebranding of Facebook to Meta Platforms Inc. FB, -1.22%, announced last week.
“Facebook brought a lot of joy to my face” with the corporate name change, World Peace, an 18-year veteran of the league who was a member of the 2010 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, told MarketWatch. “When I changed my name [from Ron Artest] in 2011, I was just getting into tech and I did it from a Buddhist perspective. Spiritually, meta means ultimate, and I guess it is the same in tech.”
At the same time he changed his name, World Peace anointed his first holding company Meta Tech. The company has since been renamed XvsX Sports, where it has developed an app for the underserved community that lets hoopsters find and book top-tier indoor courts across the country.
World Peace says he has several friends who work at Facebook, but did not hear from the company about its plans to adopt a new name. He said he welcomes working with Meta Platforms in any capacity.
Last week, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg made the change as the company dives aggressively into the metaverse, a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, and cryptocurrencies to let users interact virtually. While the rebranding reflects an attempt to expand the company’s vision, it was also seen as an attempt to distance itself from a battered reputation amid an onslaught of lawsuits, regulatory legislation, and embarrassing leaked documents.
Branding expert Nicole Penn, who is president of EGC Group Inc., said it is exceedingly difficult to “distract by re-creating corporate structures,” pointing to moniker changes by Altria Group Inc. MO, +0.49% (formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc.) and, briefly, Tronc Inc. (Tribune Publishing Co.).
“Maybe Mark Zuckerberg can send the head of Facebook to testify before Congress and deal with all of the conflict,” she told MarketWatch. On the metaverse front, she added, the company faces another challenge in catching up to Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +0.96%, Coca-Cola Co. KO, +0.05%, Nike Inc. NKE, +0.86%, and others in the field.