Varoufakis Says Zuckerberg Is Stealing ‘Meta’ Name

In a tweet Friday, the Greek economist and Progressive International co-founder called out the tech giant for taking the moniker of a global anti-capitalist think tank.

Yanis Varoufakis in 2020. (Michael Coghlan, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Jessica Corbett
Common Dreams

As Facebook faces a firestorm for changing its corporate name to Meta amid heightened calls for crackdown  on the tech titan, Greek economist and Progressive International co-founder Yanis Varoufakis on Friday called out the company for stealing the moniker of a global anti-capitalist think tank.

Varoufakis, in a tweet, took aim at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who announced the new name at a conference Thursday, as the social media company contends with widespread criticism of its practices thanks to revelations from former-employees-turned-whistleblowers.

“Hands off our meta, Our Center for Postcapitalist Civilization, Mr. Zuckerberg,” tweeted the former Greek finance minister, who is on the think tank’s advisory board. “You, and your minions, wouldn’t recognize civilization even if it hit you with a bargepole.”

The mission page of meta’s website explains that “we are already in the early stages of an era that can only be described by that which it succeeds: we live in postcapitalist times. They may turn out dystopic, utopic, or anything in between.”

“Through art and research, argument, and poetry,” the site says, “meta (the abbreviation of our Our Center for Postcapitalist Civilization) works to break with a dystopic present to imagine the world anew—to grasp our present historical moment so as to help radical progressive movements find a path from the emergent dismal postcapitalism to one worth fighting, and living, for.”

Along with Varoufakis, other advisory board members include scholar Noam Chomsky, musician Brian Eno, filmmaker Ken Loach, economist James K. Galbraith, and philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

In addition to the social network Facebook, Meta also owns the photo- and video-sharing platform Instagram as well as the messaging application WhatsApp.

Please Support CN’s Fall Fund Drive!

As Common Dreams reported Thursday, while Zuckerberg celebrated the new corporate name for the company, tech ethicists and branding professionals warned the world not to be “fooled” by the move.

“It’s tempting to view Facebook’s rebranding as nothing more than a cynical attempt by the company to distance itself from endless scandals and the real-world harm caused by its surveillance capitalist business model. But it’s actually much more sinister than that,” said Evan Greer, director of the digital rights group Fight for the Future, in a statement Friday.

“With this announcement Mark Zuckerberg revealed his end game: He’s making a play to control the future of the Internet,” she asserted, accusing the CEO of “co-opting the terminology of decentralization and attempting to solidify his stranglehold on the future of human attention and interaction.”

Emphasizing the importance of recognizing that “the Internet is changing,” Greer argued that “we need to fight tooth and nail to ensure that the policies governing this next generation of the Internet are carefully crafted to protect vulnerable communities, free expression, and human rights –– and that they don’t undermine the potential of truly decentralized technologies, which could help finally end the era of Big Tech surveillance capitalism.”

“We are at a crossroads,” she said. “It’s time to decide what we want the future of the Internet to look like. And then it’s time to fight for that vision. Before it’s too late.”

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Please Support Our
Fall Fund Drive!

Donate securely with PayPal


Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:





8 comments for “Varoufakis Says Zuckerberg Is Stealing ‘Meta’ Name

  1. JoeSixPack
    November 1, 2021 at 09:21

    No the “internet” is not changing.
    Facebook cannot control the internet.

    It would help when talking about the “internet” people knew what the are talking about. “The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices.”

    Unless Facebook bought up all the companies that service the internet, Facebook cannot control the internet. Nor is the internet changing. The technology that underlies the internet has remained relatively stable since its inception in the 1980s.

    What has changed during this time was the creation of the World Wide Web during the mid 1990s and the goods and services that were sold on the World Wide Web, known as e-commerce.

    All Facebook can control is the information within its platform. Facebook can partner with other businesses to drive traffic to their platform but they cannot prevent people from going to over places on the internet.

    The hyperbole needs to stop.

    All the solutions to Facebook’s problems are nothing more than a continued reliance on Facebook but a kindlier, gentler Facebook . Meaning none of these discussions talk about an internet without Facebook. No one is promoting the concept of ending Facebook and replacing Facebook with another platform that provides a public commons.

    There needs to be a shift away from the use of private platforms run by private corporations, to public platforms run by the people.

    But until we start having the discussion about an internet without Facebook, nothing will change.

  2. Dan
    October 31, 2021 at 22:59

    I hate Facebook, yet just so you all know… Meta was originally from the novel “Snow Crash” by Neil Stevenson. He called the virtual world the Metaverse. So as Facebook is trying to recreate the Metaverse, it makes sense to call their company “Meta”. Ready Player One stole the idea from Snow Crash.

    So the name Meta existed as the virtual world long before this think tank.

  3. robert e williamson jr
    October 30, 2021 at 14:45

    Heads up!

    I’m in wonder here. Does every0ne accurately understand that this Mother Zucker has friends who are bad men and women in high places?

    If we really expect change here the first step is to turn off the phones, all of them, or virtually all of them for two or three days.

    Everyone has been Zuckered and it happens every time anyone goes to use his sites.

    Put down your devices instead of making this Mother Zucker rich. When his stock goes to shit the government can move in and nationalize his service. I mean it’s not like Mark is a bastion of good intent now is it!

    When is everyone get the message that these people, by choice are killing the country!

    Thanks CN

  4. rosemerry
    October 30, 2021 at 14:01

    Zuckerberg is a robot and soon all of us will be too if he is allowed to dominate us as he already manages to do so far.

  5. KiwiAntz
    October 30, 2021 at 07:52

    It’s not only bad that Zuckerberg ripped off the Meta name but also that he ripped off the concept idea of a Virtual Reality World from the Movie “Ready, Player One”? And that crazy Company logo that looks like a squashed letter 8, who designed that marketing disaster, a 8 yr old kid?? And Zuckerberg, this weirdo guy who looks like the android Data out of Star Trek, can’t he ever come up with any original ideas of his own that aren’t plagiarised from elsewhere? He stole the idea of a inline Social Network, a Facebook, from others & paid off his competition by acquiring Snapchat, Instagram etc Now Facebook has become uncool & its brand destroyed with only Boomers using it because all the young have abandoned the platform for Tick Tock because Fogeybook is so yesterday’s news? And who the heck would want to live in the new Meta–verse or Zucker-verse, this creepy online World inhabited by cartoon character Avatars? No thank you, I’d rather live in the real World & not live in Zuckerberg’s online Meta-verse only to be bombarded with advertisements & having our personal details sold off to the highest bidder by the Zuckerberg, who increasingly wants to disappear into a “Matrix Meta-verse” of his own making to escape from Facebook’s odious, disastrous & poisonous Social Network World he created as a ruse, to extract money from the masses via identity theft & targeted advertisements!

  6. Sue Zuckerberg
    October 30, 2021 at 02:01

    Sue him for copyright infringement. Stealing of a trade mark of a Mark …

  7. John Smith
    October 29, 2021 at 22:37

    Re: Advisory Board. Noam Chomsky??! “One of these things is not like the others . . .”

  8. Litchfield
    October 29, 2021 at 18:13

    Why don’t they sue FB?

    It is upsetting that the author of this piece uses the “Meta” name in connection with FB.

    This is wrong and should have been edited out.

Comments are closed.