Skip To Content

Does Mark Zuckerberg know what Meta means in Hebrew?

Facebook is dead, long live Meta. But, actually, Meta is dead, too.

Let me explain.

On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new name for Facebook to mark its transition to what he calls “the metaverse.” The name, which is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Meta, doesn’t translate well. Unless that’s the point.

While the word, now applied to such narratively self-aware works as “Adaptation” and “Deadpool,” derives from the Greek prefix meaning “after” or beyond,” and indicates something that transcends the word it latches onto (think metaphysics), in Hebrew the word “Meta” is the feminine form of “is dead.” Don’t just take my word for it!

Hebrew speakers may have chuckled at Zuckerberg’s pronouncement, from an eerily art-directed room, that Meta was chosen to better reflect “who we are and what we hope to build.” The metaverse he’s building, may be a subtle multilingual counter to Trump’s golem-esque Truth platform, with the Hebrew words “Emet” (Truth) and “Met” (Death) both playing a big role in the golem story.

It would be funny if it wasn’t all so morbid, seeming to portend the flailing end of a tech empire hoping to distract from intense public scrutiny prompted by a litany of scandals brought to light by reporting and a whistleblower.

Is Meta’s birth — or rather, naming — announcement really a proof of death? Only if Zuck is being meta in the self-aware sense and knows some Hebrew.

Zuckerberg’s company, by any other name, is now alleged to be a major source of societal rot, from devouring the self-esteem of teenagers to peddling misinformation to maintaining a startlingly feckless — or worse, laissez-faire — approach to policing hate speech.

So who really died here, with the rise of Meta? Society as we know it? The pre-Zuckerverse, where us poor plebes couldn’t text via Ray-Ban-branded augmented reality glasses while pretending to be paying attention to an in-person conversation?

The answer, far from an acknowledgment of defeat to the slings and arrows of Congressional investigation and investor distress, appears to be an invitation to a danse macabre, implicating us in the demise of life as we know it as he strives to “bring the metaverse to life.”

“Our mission remains the same, it’s still about bringing people together,” Zuckerberg insisted.

Sounds like a shiva.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we still need 300 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Only 300 more gifts needed by April 30

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.