On Thursday, social media and tech company Facebook announced that it is changing its corporate name from Facebook to Meta. The announcement was made at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference.
According to the company, the name change does not have an impact on its individual platforms – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Marketplace, etc., and its other business. The name change only affects the parent company. The company says that the name change better reflects the company’s ambitions beyond social media; the new name encompasses the company’s drive into futuristic tech and other businesses that surpass the social media business that it started with. The company’s new name Meta is adopted from sci-fi terminology metaverse, used to describe the virtual world.
Speaking about the development, the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started”. While announcing the new name, the company also stated that its stock ticker will change from “FB” to “MVRS”, effective from Dec. 1st, 2021.
The name change follows the series of controversies surrounding the company based on documents leaked by a former employee. The company was accused of placing making profits over the safety of its users.
Facebook announced in July that it was forming a team to work on the “metaverse”. The company also said that Head of Hardware Division –Andrew “Boz” Bosworth would be taking the role of Chief Technology Officer in 2022. The company also announced, after reporting its earnings on Monday, that its Reality Lab would have its own reporting segment from the fourth quarter.
The metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets. The company plans to hire 10,000 people to work on the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg said that the company will spend about $10 billion over the next year developing the technologies required for building the metaverse. He also provided a demonstration of the company’s ambitions for the metaverse. The demo, which was a Pixar-like animation of software the company hopes to build someday, included users hanging out in space as cartoon-like versions of themselves or fantastical characters, like a robot, that represent their virtual selves.
Mark Zuckerberg said that “over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” he told a virtual conference. We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for our family of apps, and one for our work on future platforms. And as part of this, it is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do, to reflect who we are and what we hope to build”.
On Thursday, the company also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape – the logo for Meta.
Meta’s stock price closed up on Thursday.