Facebook is changing its name to Meta, a rebranded corporate parent.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the change on Thursday, saying he wanted a new brand and a clearer corporate naming scheme to help focus on what the internet will look like after social media.
The rebranding comes as Facebook is subjected to a barrage of news stories and public scrutiny as a result of thousands of internal corporate documents obtained by news organizations. The documents, which were obtained by former Facebook product manager and whistleblower Frances Haugen, reveal internal employee dissatisfaction with the platform’s policies. The name of the company’s signature blue-colored app, which will remain Facebook, will not change as a result of the change. However, the corporate umbrella that also owns Instagram and WhatsApp will have a new identity.
Meta will own and control four of the most popular smartphone apps in the world, in addition to Messenger.
The name is a play on the term “metaverse,” which refers to a potential future internet that emphasizes virtual spaces. The metaverse, according to Zuckerberg, will be the “next frontier” of the internet.
“Facebook is one of the most popular products in the world’s history. It is a well-known social media brand, but it no longer encompasses everything we do “In an online presentation, he stated.
“I want to anchor our work and identity in what we’re working towards,” he said.
Facebook’s emphasis on the concept of a metaverse follows in the footsteps of other tech companies, such as the virtual world Second Life, founded in 2003, and the online gaming platform Roblox. It’s also the subject of several science fiction novels and films, including “Ready Player One.” Zuckerberg, who has long been fascinated by classical Greece and Rome, pointed out that “meta” is Greek for “beyond.”
As of December 1, the company’s stock ticker will be changed from FB to MVRS.
Meta’s creation is reminiscent of Google’s 2015 decision to restructure under a new corporate parent named Alphabet. This shift distanced Google’s search engine and advertising businesses from other, unproven projects, such as the development of self-driving cars.
In 2019, Facebook shifted its branding strategy to emphasize the name Facebook, adding labels to the Instagram and WhatsApp apps to help users understand the relationship. It did so at the same time that lawmakers and other Facebook critics were urging the government to break up the company, which the Federal Trade Commission is now requesting from a federal court.
In mid-October, The Verge, a tech news website, reported that Facebook planned to announce a name change in order to “focus on building the metaverse.”
“Over the next five years or so, in this next chapter of our company, I believe we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company,” Zuckerberg said in July.
The new name and structure were announced at the conclusion of a presentation on the company’s plans for virtual and augmented reality. Zuckerberg demonstrated how an immersive virtual experience can be used for everything from gaming and pretend surfing to work meetings, digital concerts, and exercise.
“You’ll be able to do almost anything you can think of,” Zuckerberg said.
“Teleporting around the metaverse will be as simple as clicking a link on the web,” he predicted.
Marne Levine, the company’s chief business officer, also mentioned antiquity as another application of the metaverse, claiming that Meta’s customers could travel to ancient Rome or other historical periods. “Imagine standing on the streets, hearing the sounds, and visiting the markets to get a sense of life over 2,000 years ago,” she said.
Facebook entered the virtual reality sector in 2014 when it paid $2 billion for the company Oculus VR. Its Oculus headsets now serve as the foundation for Zuckerberg’s metaverse plans, and he has stated that he intends to continue selling the headsets at cost or at a loss in order to increase the number of users.