- Facebook changes its name to Meta
- Mark Zuckerberg has new visions for the future of social media
- Some say the name change comes to distance Facebook from its controversies
Facebook’s new name change might ring a bell with gamers, as the company will now officially be called “Meta”.
The Facebook Conglomerate Is Rebranding as “Meta”
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform and it owns other social brands like Instagram and WhatsApp. In a Connect event on October 28, the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that its new name will be Meta. “Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy,” he said.
The name change perhaps should not come to anyone’s surprise as it has been in the works for quite some time now. Back in July Zuckerberg told The Verge that Facebook will “effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company” over the next few years.
Other big tech companies like Google have also done similar moves in the not-too-distant past. Back in 2015, the company rebranded itself as “Alphabet”, signifying that Google is no longer just a search engine, but a global conglomerate comprising of various internet and real-life-based ventures. The thing is, the new name never really caught on.
In a blog post, Zuckerberg wrote that the company’s corporate structure would not be changing, but how it reports financial results will. Starting in the last quarter of 2021, the company plans to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs. “We also intend to start trading under the new stock ticker we have reserved, MVRS, on December 1. Today’s announcement does not affect how we use or share data.”
Why Zuckerberg Chose that Name?
The word “meta” comes from Greek and means “beyond”. Gamers, or geeks in general, might also recognize the term “metaverse” as a combination of different story settings. It seems Facebook’s CEO wants to connect all sorts of digital environments using a headset to enter a virtual world.
This cyberpunk-esque sounding concepts is by some said to be the future of the Internet. Facebook hopes that this technology could be used for practically anything from work, play and concerts, to socializing with friends and family.
This is not an idea invented by Facebook, as this article from the New York Times explores how other big tech companies like Epic Games are increasingly having more and more metaverse-like elements.
A Name Change Amidst Controversies
The massive conglomerate’s name change is coming at a time of rising controversies, raised by leaked documents. According to a Washington Post report, Facebook withheld important information about vaccine misinformation from policymakers during the pandemic.
This comes from documents leaked by ex-employee Ms. Haugen. The leaked papers also include information that Facebook withheld information that showed Instagram harmed teenage mental health and struggled to remove hate speech from its platforms outside the US.
Zuckerberg responds that the reports are a “coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company”.
It is a possibility that the conglomerate’s name change is an effort to divert attention away from the trove of negative stories hanging around the company. Some say that the Facebook brand has become “toxic” and this is an attempt to distance the company from that. One US senator described the move as “cosmetic”.
Whatever the actual cause behind the name change is, it seems that Zuckerberg has ideas that sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel. Does the name change mean that in the future we will be seeing new “social” technologies implemented in our daily lives, with virtual worlds connecting everything and everyone? We will simply have to wait and see. What is certain is that one should keep an eye on the ways technology could be misused.