The scorecard on that mission is checkered . But, today, at least one thing is clear: Facebook, the company, is much more than just Facebook, the app—and it wants you to know it.
Facebook today introduced a brand redesign that will extend across the company’s many products, like a set of matching outfits for a family portrait. The Facebook logo now shines with new typography and an “empathetic color palette”—pink for Instagram, green for WhatsApp—that features more prominently across Zuckerberg’s vast dominion. Instagram and WhatsApp will now tell you they’re “from FACEBOOK,” newly in all caps, as if shouting to remind you who’s in charge.“The new branding was designed for clarity,” writes Antonio Lucio, Facebook’s chief marketing officer, in a blog post introducing the new designs. Another blog post on the company’s design hub goes into more detail about how the team used “custom typography, rounded corners, open tracking and capitalization to create visual distinction between the company and the app.” This apparent faith in the world-changing power of a good font will be familiar to anyone who has ever read a design brief. “The subtle softening of corners and diagonals adds a sense of optimism,” the reader is told, although it isn’t specified what we’re to be optimistic about.
And so simultaneously the company mounted a huge effort, led by CTO Mike Schroepfer, to create artificial intelligence systems that can, at scale, identify the content that Facebook wants to zap from its platform, including spam, nudes, hate speech, ISIS propaganda, and videos of children being put in washing machines.
All of these design tweaks add up to one clear takeaway: Facebook is more than just Big Blue. It’s the social technology that rules your life, from WhatsApp and Messenger and Instagram and Threads and Oculus and Portal and Workplace. Soon, if the company can navigate its way through a maze of regulatory and public perception challenges, it may also include Calibra, the digital wallet for its new cryptocurrency, Libra; one day, it could even include a Facebook-branded brain-computer interface. In the future, who knows what else Facebook will swallow up. Whatever it does, you won’t forget it was built by Facebook.
Do you have a tip about Facebook's kerning decisions? Email Arielle Pardes at [email protected] . WIRED protects the confidentiality of its sources, but if you wish to conceal your identity, here are the instructions for using SecureDrop . You can also mail us materials at 520 Third Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, CA 94107.Zuckerberg has referred to his empire as a “family” of apps for years, but recently, after a difficult couple of years at the company , those familial ties seems tighter than ever. The rebranding follows Facebook’s plan, from January, to integrate its various messaging services on the backend, which would stitch together communication on Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. This summer, the company furthered this assimilation by adding the Facebook name to more of the products it owns. Instagram became “Instagram from Facebook,” like a designer collection sold exclusively by a big box department store.
It was curious timing for a company that is currently facing several separate antitrust investigations, from the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and 47 attorneys general across the United States. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made unwinding Facebook’s various acquisitions a major part of her platform. Even Chris Hughes, Facebook’s cofounder, has called for regulators to break up the company, and has launched his own fund to support academic research and policy on antitrust matters.
Also on Friday, Business Insider reported that years of Zuckerberg’s public writings had mysteriously disappeared, “obscuring details about core moments in Facebook’s history.” The missing trove included everything the CEO wrote in both 2007 and 2008, as well as more recent announcements, like the blog post Zuckerberg penned in 2012 when Facebook acquired Instagram.