Facebook is changing its name to Meta. They say it is a part of the rebranding process. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, announced this piece of news on 28 October at the annual virtual reality and augmented reality conference Facebook Connect, stirring a lot of speculation and talks.
From now on Facebook will concentrate on “metaverse”, and the new name Meta will better show the range of their activity, extending from social media to virtual reality. However, it doesn’t exist yet, it is a long-term product.
The name “Meta” was inspired by Zuckerberg’s love of classics, “meta” in Greek means “beyond”, signifying there is always space to build and develop.
At the Facebook Connect conference, Zuckerberg informed they would be the metaverse first, not the Facebook. Facebook CEO admitted he had been thinking a lot about the company’s identity. He also told that their brand has such a significant connection to one product that it is not able to convey all the activities they are doing at the moment and are going to do later. According to him, Facebook is one of the most widely used products in the world and an iconic social media, but the range of their activities is much wider. Therefore, the brand has to be changed.
Zuckerberg claimed their identity was to build a technology connecting people, and the “metaverse” is the next step in this way. The company is currently working on two segments ‒ its apps and its future platforms.
Facebook, together with Instagram and WhatsApp are to become the parent company’s subsidiaries. Their names will be kept as they are, but all these apps will exist under the “Meta” brand.
The company’s logo was also changed from a “thumbs up” sign into a blue infinity sign.
In the press release, the company announced that on 1 December it was going to start trading under the stock ticket “MVRS”.
The decision about name changing was taken after its ex-employee Frances Haugen revealed tens of thousands of Facebook’s internal files.
Facebook was blamed for inappropriate content moderation, misinformation, concealing information, and the negative influence of its products on its users’ mental state. Frances Haugen claimed there were conflicts of interest between what was good for people and what was good for the company, and in these conflicts, Facebook put its income over the safety and other interests of its users, that is to say, it was concentrating on just making money. According to critics, Facebook has become toxic.
Therefore, the rebranding may be the company’s attempt to shift the focus from the adverse stories, make a fresh start and bring back their right reputation.
In response to the reports against Facebook Zuckerberg said it was an effort to “paint a false picture of the company”.
It is definitely not a single occasion in history that the company decides to rename itself. Sometimes it was indeed the consequence of conflicts or controversies, as in the case with Malboro, which became Altria, or Valujet renamed to Airtran after its plane crash.
In other cases renaming may be linked to the company’s restructuring, change in its vision, or ambitions. For instance, Google became Alphabet after its restructuring. However, when big brands change their names, people continue to refer to them using their previous, and more common names. Users go on calling it Google, not the Alphabet.
Many people believe “Meta” is the future of the Internet. “Metaverse” is a kind of combination of virtual and augmented reality into a new online universe where users are represented by their digital avatars. There, people can do anything ‒ work, play games, socialize, attend concerts and other events, etc., often applying the VR headsets. A series of concept videos have been released to illustrate the potential of Meta. For instance, your holographic image is visiting a concert with your friend at the real concert, or it is meeting with images of your colleagues. To work on the concept, the company is planning to employ 10,000 new employees.
While the company’s name and vision are changing, the corporate structure will remain the same. However, Zuckerberg changed his job title on his Facebook page: “Founder and CEO at Meta”.
The Verge has recently asked him, how long he was planning to remain CEO at Facebook. Zuckerberg said he was not sure about that period of time but he definitely was excited about the following stage of their activity. He contemplated on the possible criticism of some people about Meta’s focusing on the future while there are plenty of problems today. Zuckerberg said there always would exist problems and therefore there would never be an appropriate time to think about the future.
Right after the announcement about the renaming, users and companies, including Twitter, started commenting on this piece of news, mainly in a funny way, criticizing and mocking it.
Twitter joked it was also changing its name.
Someone proposed to introduce a new name for Twitter - Twetta.
The US hamburger chain Wendy’s wrote: “Changing name to Meat”. In response, Meta in its new Twitter account wrote: “Nice to meat you, @Wendys”.
For some people the name Meta sounded a bit like a drug:
And lots of other jokes: