Facebook unveiled its new all-caps logo today as a way to unite its brands, and bring transparency to its ownership structure, even as top lawmakers move to untangle the company with an antitrust case that could break up the social network from WhatsApp and Instagram.
Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio showed off the new “FACEBOOK” wordmark in a blog post, describing the new font and color scheme. “This brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences,” Lucio wrote.
The “Facebook” corporate mark will appear on all the apps and is distinct from the blue “Facebook” logo that adorns the main social network. Users will see a “from Facebook” tag in prominent position on Instagram and WhatsApp, like on their log-in screens.
The new logo is meant to clear up confusion about the owners of Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, which is the virtual reality company bought by Facebook in 2014. However, with the main corporate umbrella now being "from FACEBOOK" all caps, there were comments on Twitter wondering if that would cause even more confusion. "Looking forward to always clarifying if we mean FACEBOOK or facebook in every subsequent conversation," tweeted Ann Milicevic, co-founder of digital consulting firm Sparrow Advisers.
Brian Collins, chief creative officer at Collins design firm, says Facebook's new logo was a better attempt at corporate branding than when Google attempted a similar refresh by creating Alphabet as its parent company to oversee all its brands. "Unlike other organizations who've created new 'meta' brands to bring structure to their expanding offerings, like Alphabet over Google," Collins says, "Facebook has placed a bet that the equity and goodwill of the original Facebook app name can now move upstream as the organizing brand for everything they do."
Facebook has been intermingling its main apps more and more this year, which critics have said is an attempt to combine its properties in a way that will make it more difficult for regulators to unwind. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook’s ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp, and there have been suggestions by prominent politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren to separate the entities.
Besides the unity of the newly designed corporate brand, Facebook has made “interoperability” a major goal, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined at the start of this year. “You should be able to use any of our apps to reach your friends, and you should be able to communicate across our networks easily and securely,” Zuckerberg said during a call with Wall Street analysts in April.
Advertisers have been experiencing their own version of “interoperability” with Stories, the 24-hour videos that can run on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook has made it easy for advertisers to create ads in Stories that can then appear on all the apps.
“We’re also focused on developing products to help businesses reach people where they are,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said in a third-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts last month. “Stories are a great example and we’re continuing to see fast adoption across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.”
Last year, Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger both left Facebook, which bought their company in 2012. The departures were reportedly due to Facebook taking a stronger role in the app’s operations. Among the corporate changes, this year Facebook moved all employees to the same e-mail domain at “fb.com.”
Last year, WhatsApp’s co-founders also departed Facebook after clashes over the direction of the messaging app’s future. There were concerns about Facebook compromising WhatsApp’s early focus on privacy.
Well before today’s redesigned logo, Facebook has been putting a version of “from Facebook” on Instagram and WhatsApp since at least March. The new signage was adopted to clear up any misunderstanding about who owns the popular apps. Last month, a Pew Research survey found that only 29 percent of people in the U.S. knew Facebook owned Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram combine to serve 2.8 billion monthly active users. The new wordmark incorporates the colors that represent all the properties—blue for the social network, green for WhatsApp and multi-colored for Instagram.
“These apps and technologies have shared infrastructure for years and the teams behind them frequently work together,” the Facebook design team wrote in its blog post about the new look. “This is the next step in our effort to be clearer about the products and services from Facebook.”