Why Twitter Is Trolling Facebook With New Coke References

First there was FaceMash, the sophomoric website created by an actual sophomore, then-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (via The Washington Post). FaceMash was Zuckerberg's regrettable idea in 2003 to post two Harvard women's photos side-by-side, to give other students a chance to rank them. While that concept for a social network fortunately died a quick death, Zuckerberg was developing something else from his Cambridge dorm room — a little website called Facebook. Actually, in those early days it was "TheFacebook," as those Harvard early adopters recalled in The Atlantic. By the time the social media site was open to the general public and not just students, about two and a half years after it was launched, Zuckerberg had streamlined the name to the all-too-familiar Facebook.

Fifteen years after that, Zuckerberg is ready once again for a new name. Facebook is still Facebook, but his combined technology arsenal — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus, and some smaller things — now falls under the banner of "Meta," according to the newly branded company's website. Nothing has changed, other than a new stock market ticker symbol and the company's more public focus on bringing social media into a 3D metaverse in the coming years (via Fox Business). Your Facebook feed will look the same tomorrow as it did yesterday. Still, people on Twitter reacted as if Facebook had made one of the biggest blunders in marketing history.

Despite what people on Twitter say, Facebook isn't pulling a New Coke

Coke was losing market share to Pepsi in the early 1980s, which gave executives at Coca-Cola an idea that maybe sounded good at the time: reformulate Coke to make it taste sweeter, like Pepsi, and rebrand their flagship product as New Coke (via The Creative Block). That was 36 years ago, and Coca-Cola brought back the original formula three months later. But Twitter remembers it like it was just yesterday. After Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook's corporate name was changing to Meta, "New Coke" was trending on Twitter, at least according to user @reformistsports.

"I'm calling it now, Meta is the new Crystal Pepsi or New Coke," @realVikingCat tweeted. @jessnevins had a similar take: "'Meta' is corporatese for 'New Coke.'" Twitter user @four4thefire took the comparison another step further: "This makes New Coke look like the invention of fire."

Considering that Facebook isn't changing its formula as part of this rebranding, the New Coke comparison really doesn't apply. What Facebook is doing is more like when Google swept all of its products under one new name, "Alphabet," in 2015 (via Investopedia). @bobpulgino on Twitter explains: "If Zuck had dusted off MySpace and renamed it 'New Facebook,' then you could say he was pulling a 'New Coke,'" they tweeted. "Zuck is pulling an Alphabet."