After a whistleblower leaked hundreds of internal documents, Facebook is changing its name to reflect its future ambitions and is facing widespread scrutiny of the real-world harms caused by its various platforms.
Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that Facebook will change its corporate name to Meta, effectively relegating the company’s namesake service to the status of a subsidiary, alongside Instagram and WhatsApp, rather than the overarching brand.
A rebranding could be part of an effort to rebuild Facebook’s reputation and turn the page after a string of public relations disasters, including misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures, and revelations about the negative impact its products have on some users’ mental health.
The name change, announced by Zuckerberg during Facebook Connect, aligns with the company’s growing focus on the metaverse, which refers to efforts to combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm.
“As we begin this new chapter, I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity. Facebook is one of the most popular products in the world’s history “On Thursday, Zuckerberg stated. It is a well-known social media brand, but it no longer encompasses everything we do.
“”Today, we’re viewed as a social media company,” he continued, “but in our DNA, we’re a company that builds technology to connect people.” And, just as social networking was when we first started, the metaverse is the next frontier.”
The name was inspired by the Greek word meta, which means “beyond,” according to Zuckerberg, who said he loved studying classics in school. “It represents to me that there is always more to build.”
On Thursday, Zuckerberg kicked off a big product event by teasing a series of new social, gaming, and workplace concepts for the metaverse – and by acknowledging the optics of focusing on such products in the midst of renewed scrutiny of the company.
“I understand that some will argue that now is not the time to think about the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to address in the present. There will always be, “Zuckerberg stated this in a pre-keynote video.
“So, for many people, I’m not sure there will ever be a good time to think about the future. But I also know that there are many of you who share my sentiments.”
“What we’re building is what we live for,” Zuckerberg added. “And even when we make mistakes, we keep learning, building, and progressing.”
Facebook livestreamed its eighth annual Connect event to reveal its latest augmented and virtual reality innovations and research, as well as more on its vision for the metaverse, which refers to efforts that combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online platform.
Facebook displayed a series of concept videos highlighting its vision for the metaverse, such as sending a holographic image of yourself to a concert with a friend who is actually attending, sitting around virtual meeting tables with remote colleagues, or playing immersive games with friends.
Zuckerberg also revealed plans for a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods, as well as a new home screen in Oculus Quest to make chatting and gaming in the virtual world more social.
“Your devices will no longer be the center of your attention,” he said. “In the next five to ten years, we’ll start to see a lot of these technologies come together. A lot of this will become commonplace, and many of us will be creating and inhabiting worlds as detailed and convincing as this one on a daily basis.”
SOURCE: CNN Business