What happened to the “Meta” Instagram handle?

When Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta, the company was ready. Right after Mark Zuckerberg gave a curvy speech extolling the benefits of the Metaverse, the company revealed that it has repainted its iconic ‘thumbs-up’ sign which is located at its headquarters in Menlo Park. Many of his social media accounts have also moved from Facebook to Meta.

With the exception of a key account, of course. As many pointed out at the time, the company did not control the @Meta handle on Instagram. He belonged to a small magazine based in Denver called META. On the day of Facebook’s announcement, the company, which posts motorcycle lifestyle stories, posted a photo of various printing issues with the caption “Since 2014.”

That night, recent posts from the @Meta account were filled with comments encouraging the owner to “hold” the account, or at least sell it for a hefty price. “Hold and sell high,” wrote one user. But the next day, the account had mysteriously disappeared, as Quartz reported. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but @Meta has now incorporated all of the content from the previous Instagram page @Facebook. The posts on the account are prior to October 28, as if the social network had always controlled it. Messages from META, the magazine, now appears under the handle @readmeta.

META the publisher did not respond to requests for comment. But there are still traces of his old Instagram account on his website. The company’s website is still linked to its old instagram.com/meta account. Oddly enough, clicking on this link from the publisher’s website generates an error, even though it points to the same URL as the Meta account now owned by Facebook.

Screenshot / Engadget

Tuesday, Ben Geise, METAThe co-founder and editor-in-chief of, announced that the magazine’s latest issue will be the last under the name he has used for over eight years. “We value our individuality above all else, so when news broke that a Goliath company was changing its name to Meta, it was like a punch in the guts,” he wrote in a statement. blog post. “With the flip of a switch our identity suddenly watered down and we watched our name circle the drain and wash with something we had no control over. “

Geise did not respond to requests for comment, so it’s hard to know exactly what happened. But Instagram’s terms of service say businesses can’t “reserve” handles. And the terms state that businesses cannot claim trademark infringements if the account owner is using it for unrelated purposes. “Using another’s mark in a way that has nothing to do with the product or service for which the mark was granted is not a violation of Instagram’s Trademark Policy. “, politics States. “Instagram usernames are provided on a first come, first served basis. “

Of course, accounts and handles often switch hands anyway. Businesses are known to use escrow services to negotiate account transfers, while others have used more shady markets to access accounts with desirable handles.

But the practice is also officially banned by Instagram’s terms of service. “You may not sell, authorize or purchase any account or data obtained from us or our service,” the terms of use state. “This includes attempts to buy, sell or transfer any aspect of your account (including your username); solicit, collect or use the login credentials or badges of other users; or request or collect inappropriate Instagram usernames, passwords or access tokens.

This raises questions as to whether Facebook has circumvented its own rules in order to gain access to a coveted username, the kind of action for which other users are routinely banned. Or if the company has found another justification for taking over the account. An Instagram spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For now, META the publisher says it is focused on the future. “Our brand is more than just a name. We represent a way of life, ”Geise wrote. “We speak to inspire and encourage the rare human race bold enough to pursue their dreams and never look back. “

Update 12/12 / 7:10 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Meta said there had been no trademark claims or legal threats against META the publisher, but declined to say if the social network had been in contact with the magazine or if it had been paid for its username. “We allow people to change their username on Instagram,” Meta spokeswoman Stepahnie Otway said in a statement.

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