Employees of Meta, the freshly rebranded parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, have a new term to refer to themselves: Metamates.
During a virtual all-hands meeting at the company on Tuesday, according to Verge senior reporter Alex Heath, CEO Mark Zuckerberg rattled off a list of new corporate values that Meta will go by. One of the most important is the catchphrase “Meta, Metamates, me,” designating the order of importance by which Meta employees should rank their own interests vs. their colleagues’ and the company’s well-being. The Washington Post subsequently confirmed Heath’s account of the presentation.
Metamates—not to be confused with Metamucil, a fiber supplement for those experiencing gastrointestinal distress—will have some other new values moving forward. Zuckerberg told staffers that Meta’s directive to “move fast” is being extended to “move fast together,” “be bold” is now “build awesome things,” and that the values statement now includes a “focus on long term impact.” Facebook’s corporate value of “be open” is now “live in the future,” while “be direct and respect your colleagues” has been changed to... “be open.” Finally, Zuckerberg added, Meta staff should not “nice ourselves to death.”
These are the values, it should be said, that every
Micronaut Megatron Metazoan Metamate will hold.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who will soon be promoted from his current role as vice president of augmented and virtual reality at Meta to chief technical officer, claimed on Twitter the Metamates thing was in fact an original invention of the famous cognitive scientist, physicist, and author Douglas Hofstadter, who an employee “cold emailed” for ideas. Sure, whatever. Bosworth added it was based on the Navy adage “ship, shipmates, self,” which is at least partially a reminder of how not to drown to death and doesn’t sound at all sexual.
The rebranding of Facebook to Meta, and its pivot from products like the eponymous social network to a new, three-dimensional “metaverse,” has sparked accusations that the company is trying to bury its unflattering history with buzzwords. Zuckerberg posted his own explanation of the new corporate values to his Facebook page, explaining the Metamate language is about collective responsibility for collective success:
Meta, Metamates, Me is about being good stewards of our company and mission. It’s about the sense of responsibility we have for our collective success and to each other as teammates. It’s about taking care of our company and each other.
A more apropos maritime catchphrase for Facebook’s current scandal-mired, plummeting-valuation situation might be “every man for himself.” But that just doesn’t quite have the same Sea Org ring to it.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, but we’ll update this piece when we hear back.