Facebook has rebranded itself and is altering its corporate name to Meta, to reflect its focus on establishing the “metaverse.” But, what does this really mean?
Welcome to Meta
The name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28th, is designed to signify the internet giant’s aim to be known for more than just social media and all of its associated problems.
This makeover would most likely present the blue Facebook app as one of many products managed by a parent business that also oversees Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and other companies. Facebook currently has over 10,000 staff working on consumer devices such as augmented reality glasses, which Zuckerberg expects will become as common as smartphones.
A renaming might also help to further distinguish Zuckerberg’s futuristic work from the tremendous criticism Facebook is presently facing over its current social platform. Frances Haugen, a former employee who became a whistleblower, recently revealed a cache of embarrassing internal documents to The Wall Street Journal, and testified in front of Congress about them.
Antitrust regulators in the United States and internationally are attempting to break up Facebook, and public trust in the company’s operations is eroding.
Other examples of big companies with name changes
Facebook isn’t the only well-known technology business to alter its name as its goals grow. Google reorganized altogether under the Alphabet holding company in 2015, partly to show that it was no longer just a search engine, but a global conglomerate with subsidiaries developing self-driving cars and healthcare technology. In 2016, Snapchat changed its name to Snap Inc., the same year it began referring to itself as a “camera company” and unveiled its first set of Spectacles camera spectacles.
Apart from Zuckerberg’s remarks, Facebook has been quietly laying the basis for a bigger focus on future technology. It established a specialized metaverse team this past summer. The situation is further complicated by the fact that, while Facebook has been extensively marketing the concept of the metaverse in recent weeks, it’s still not a concept that’s widely understood.
More on this will surely be revealed in due time, and until then, we just have to be vigilant in understanding that this is the normal course that a social media conglomerate takes in its lifespan. In other news, Facebook is testing out ads within its VR headsets, most likely to use in its metaverse.
Photo via CNBC