Facebook’s new name is Meta.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the news at the company’s Connect event, stating the name change reflects ‘who we are and what we hope to build.’ The switch to Meta comes as part of the social media giant’s rebranding efforts, aiming to switch up its image and mould the company into a ‘Metaverse.’
Zuckerberg added: ‘We are a company that builds technology to connect.’
Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy.
The Facebook founder explained that the name ‘Facebook’ doesn’t accurately describe the company anymore and only encompasses one aspect of what they hope to achieve:
Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product. But over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company.
According to The Verge, Facebook now owns the website meta.com as well as the handle @meta, which redirect to a Facebook page outlining the company’s new mission.
What is the ‘metaverse’?
Facebook stated in a press release that the Metaverse is intended to feel like a ‘hybrid of today’s online special experiences.’ The Metaverse will have the option of expanding some online experiences into the 3D realm through virtual reality technology or incorporating them into real life through augmented reality.
The press release continued to add that the Metaverse will ‘let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world.’
It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.
‘This isn’t the end of the line’
Mark Zuckerberg also discussed his company’s new changes in a blog post, again echoing that ‘we are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet.’
Zuckerberg explained that over the decades, mediums of communication have significantly changed and will continue to progress.
‘In recent decades, technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally. When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites. When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We've gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn't the end of the line.’
The next platform will be even more immersive - an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.
‘The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence - like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.’
Some believe Facebook’s new name change to be a distraction from recent scandals
Facebook’s new changes come just weeks following its latest and perhaps largest controversy where whistleblower Frances Haugen released damning documents to the Washington Post, delving into Facebook’s damaging practises.
The documents handed over to the news outlet describe Facebook’s involvements and lack of action in regards to human trafficking, stoking division amongst users, the handling of the Capitol riot, teen mental health, capturing the attention of ever-younger audiences, and even their ‘whitelist’ which allows celebrities and public figures to pass through the cracks of the company’s content guidelines.
The controversy has since caused Facebook to come under scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators, and many suspect that the timing of the company’s rebranding is no coincidence and is perhaps a tool to distance investors and lawmakers from the scandals.