Facebook is changing its name to Meta to emphasise ‘metaverse’ vision

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is rebranding itself as Meta in an effort to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future.

Sceptics point out that it also appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, a document trove that has revealed the ways Facebook ignored internal reports and warnings of the harms its social network created or magnified across the world.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is rebranding itself as Meta in an effort to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future.Credit:AP

Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade. The metaverse, he says, will be a place people will be able to interact, work and create products and content in what he hopes will be a new ecosystem that creates “millions” of jobs for creators.

The announcement comes amid an existential crisis for Facebook as leaked documents have exposed that the company knew about the harms its products cause but often ignored its own researchers and workers trying to fix them.

In explaining the rebrand, Zuckerberg said the name “Facebook” just doesn’t encompass “everything we do” any more. In addition to its primary social network, that now includes Instagram, Messenger, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more.

“Today we are seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”

Metaverse, he said, is the new way. Zuckerberg, who is a fan of classics, explained that the word “meta” comes from the Greek word “beyond.”

The company said its stock will start trading under a new ticker, MVRS, on December 1.

A corporate rebranding won’t solve the myriad problems at Facebook revealed by thousands of internal documents in recent weeks. It probably won’t even get people to stop calling the social media giant Facebook — or a “social media giant,” for that matter.

But that isn’t stopping Zuckerberg, seemingly eager to move on to his next big thing as crisis after crisis emerges at the company he created.

While largely dismissing revelations from the Facebook Papers as unfair criticism, Zuckerberg has focused on building a virtual environment you can go inside of instead of just looking at on a screen.

Just as smartphones replaced desktop computers, Zuckerberg is betting that the metaverse will be the next way people will interact with computers — and each other. If Instagram and messaging were Facebook’s forays into the mobile evolution, Meta is its bet on the metaverse. And what’s better than a name change to show how serious he is?

More to come

AP, Bloomberg

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