Facebook announces a name change today, October 28, Facebook would now be called “Meta.” The company explained that as part of its plan to continue to focus on its near future ambitions of developing the “metaverse,” so it had to rebrand. According to the company, “Metaverse” is a shared virtual environment that has the potential to be the next big thing and revolutionize competing platforms.
The rebrand comes at a season when lawmakers and regulators are questioning and criticizing its market power, decisions on the use of algorithmic decisions, and the policing of abuses on its platforms. Recall the social media company had received heavy allegations on some of its practices by a former employee, Frances Haugen, who anonymously filed complaints with a federal law enforcement agency against Facebook, this and other allegations have got federal eyes prying at the social media company. In the latest controversy of whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and the social media giant, Haugens leaked documents that had identified the company as one that chooses profit over user safety. CEO Zuckerberg earlier this week explained that the so-called documents that were presented are being used to paint a “false picture” of his company.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, while speaking at the social media giant’s live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference, explained that the new name would go a long way to showcase its ambitions to build the metaverse, a growing ambition beyond social media services which it has conquered. “Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” said Zuckerberg. Facebook started in 2004 and has become the largest social network in the world, with more than five billion users. The social platform which connects people continues to grow in numbers and features rapidly.
The term metaverse was first coined about 3 decades ago in a dystopian novel before gaining traction and buzz in Silicon Valley. The term broadly refers to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices. The social media giant, which has pushed its limits in developing sophisticated and heavily invested augmented and virtual reality resources, said the rebranding would introduce different apps and technologies. The company says although names have changed its corporate structure would remain the same. The tech giant which boasts of about 2.9 billion monthly users, has continued to face increased scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators. Over the last few years, the company has received multiple hits on its reputation. From the hit on how it handles user data to policing of abuses such as health misinformation, violent rhetoric, and hate speech. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging the multinational of anticompetitive practices.
In a blog post, the company has registered its interest to start trading under the new stock ticker, it has reserved, MVRS, starting Dec. 1. As of Thursday afternoon, Facebook’s shares were reported to have gone up by more than 3%. The company has also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The new sign will be replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape effective immediately.
In an interview CEO Zuckerberg discusses plans of stepping down as CEO of the company. Although he hasn’t thought much about it, it may just be happening. Facebook earlier in the week announced that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is solely responsible for AR and VR efforts will now be referred to as the Reality Labs, headed by Andrew “Boz” Bosworth. The Reality Lab will put an end to using the Oculus branding for its VR headsets, instead referring to them as “Meta” products. “Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” said CEO Zuckerberg. Reality Lab will be responsible for dishing out Metaverse products and is expected to employ about 10,000 workers in Europe within the next 5-years. The company discloses that in the next few years it would invest heavily in developing the technologies required for building the metaverse.
CEO Zuckerberg has revealed that the new name comes from the Greek word for “beyond,” the word symbolizes that there is always more to build. He also disclosed that over time the new name reflects that users will not have a need to make use of Facebook to utilize its other services.