On Oct. 28, 2021, Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta, a name that allows it to merge all of its apps and also create immersive virtual technologies. This technology is referred to as the metaverse, with the goal of allowing people to do activities virtually, including shopping, going to meetings, watch sports from any angle, and more.
Soon after the news broke, a letter purportedly issued by a company named MetaCompany went viral. The letter claimed that Facebook had stolen MetaCompany's “name and livelihood.” It detailed how the company was hounded by Facebook, and decided to carry out “necessary legal actions.” The bottom of the letter stated the company was based out of Chicago:
For the last three months, Facebook lawyers have been hounding us to sell our name to them. We refused their offer on multiple bases. Namely, the low offer wouldn’t cover the costs of changing our name, and we insisted on knowing the client and intent, which they did not want to disclose.
On October 20th, 2021, during a phone call with Facebook attorneys, we declined their low offer and maintained our requirements. At this point, we presumed it was Facebook and identified them on the call. The attorney representing Facebook declared they would respect our existing right and registration.
On October 28th, 2021, Facebook decided to commit trademark infringement and call themselves “Meta”.
They couldn’t buy us, so they tried to bury us by force of media. We shouldn't be surprised by these actions — from a company that continually says one thing and does another. Facebook and its operating officers are deceitful and acting in bad faith, not only towards us, but to all of humanity.
On Nov. 3, 2021, a Facebook post by user Michelle Stella went viral, sharing additional links claiming to corroborate the authenticity of the company.
What We Know About MetaCompany
The company's website, meta.company, has no information on it other than the above letter and hyperlinks to the letter in posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All of the company’s posts on social media were made after Facebook’s Oct. 28 announcement about its rebranding. MetaCompany's Facebook page contained only one post, which was a profile picture, on Nov. 2. The company's Instagram page reposted a screenshot of the same letter on Nov. 2.
The Facebook page was also created on Oct. 31, 2021, a few days after Facebook’s announcement.
Even archived versions of the meta.company website show that it was updated at least once in 2018 but the site now displays an error message. All other archived screenshots of the website show the update in November 2021.
The fact that the company had made no posts (and appears to have had no discernible activity on its social media pages until after Facebook made its announcement) makes its claims difficult to verify. Even the website has no other information about what MetaCompany does. We reached out to the email at the bottom of the letter and will update this post if we hear back.
Returning to the Facebook post by Stella, the additional links appear to shed more light on whether MetaCompany is a real organization, but don’t give us enough proof that it is actually connected to the letter in question. MetaCompany was indeed registered as a live trademark in 2016 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It also has an address in Chicago, along with an attorney of record. But aside from the coinciding city and name, we have no confirmation that it is the same company that posted the letter. We have reached out to the attorney of record as well, and will update this post if we get more information.
According to its trademark filing, the company provides “Consulting services in the field of design, selection, implementation and use of computer hardware and software systems for others; Development and implementation of software, hardware and technology solutions for the purpose of productization of electronic components and electronic systems.”
Another link shared in the Stella post looks at the domain name meta.company. It reveals that the website was created in 2014, but there were no registration updates until Oct. 31, 2021 -- again, only after Facebook’s announcement. Even the name of the registrant was redacted for privacy.
There is no evidence that the MetaCompany that posted this letter, and claims to be carrying out legal action against Facebook, is the same one that was trademarked in 2016. Given that we have little to no information about the company, and it appears to only have started online activity in the wake of Facebook’s announcement, we were unable to confirm its claims.
Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10226097411812880&set=a.1036492923643. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
"Facebook Stole Our Name and Livelihood." meta.company. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
MetaCompany. 5108585, https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87027182&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
“The Facebook Company Is Now Meta.” Meta, 28 Oct. 2021, https://about.fb.com/news/2021/10/facebook-company-is-now-meta/. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
Wayback Machine. https://web.archive.org/web/20210101000000*/https://meta.company/. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
“What Is the Metaverse? The Future Vision for the Internet.” WSJ, https://www.wsj.com/story/what-is-the-metaverse-the-future-vision-for-the-internet-ca97bd98. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
Whois Lookup Captcha. https://whois.domaintools.com/meta.company. Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.