Facebook's corporate entity is now Meta. The parent company behind social networking apps — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp made the announcement on Thursday at the company’s annual Connect conference.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of Meta said, "from now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won't need a Facebook account to use our other services. As our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope people around the world come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for."
Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology. - Meta
What is Metaverse?
Coined by an American writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where “metaverse” referred to a 3D virtual world inhabited by avatars of real people. Lots of other science fiction media includes metaverse-like systems. Per Verge, Stephenson’s book remains one of the most common reference points for metaverse enthusiasts, along with Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One.
Metaverse is said to be a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. The key promise of this innovation is presence.
Meanwhile, In an interview with The Verge, Mark Zuckerberg described the metaverse as "an embodied internet," basically an upgraded version of the internet where people can have “different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage."
New name, less confusion
Per Verge, Zuckerberg said "I think that there was just a lot of confusion and awkwardness about having the company brand be also the brand of one of the social media apps. I think it’s helpful for people to have a relationship with a company that is different from the relationship with any specific one of the products, that can kind of supersede all of that."
He also said that the rebranding "had nothing to bear on" the current bad news cycle around the company. "Even though I think some people might want to make that connection, I think that’s sort of a ridiculous thing. If anything, I think that this is not the environment that you would want to introduce a new brand in.", he said.
"People think of us as a social media company, but the way we think about ourselves is that we’re a technology company that builds technology to help people connect with each other. We think that makes us different from the other companies because everyone else is trying to work on how people interact with technology, where as we we build technologies so that people can interact with each other." Zuckerberg told Verge.
Meanwhile, this rebranding does not affect the names of the company's social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg stated that the company's mission has not changed, "it's still about bringing people together. Our apps and their brands aren't changing either. We're still the company that designs technology around people. But all of our products, including our apps, now share a new vision: to help bring the metaverse to life. And now we have a name that reflects the breadth of what we do.", he said.
Facebook has come under several regulatory scrutiny with regards to data privacy and safety. Reacting to its controversies around privacy, Meta's boss stated that, "Privacy and safety need to be built into the metaverse from day one. So do open standards and interoperability."
"This will require not just novel technical work -- like supporting crypto and NFT projects in the community -- but also new forms of governance. Most of all, we need to help build ecosystems so that more people have a stake in the future and can benefit not just as consumers but as creators."
First in history? No!
This is not the first time a tech company is rebranding to align with its evolving vision. Google created a new corporate structure of its own, establishing a parent company known as Alphabet in 2015.
Part of the change of name was Google's strategy to announce that it was no longer just a search engine, but a sprawling conglomerate with companies making driverless cars and health tech. While Google remains a subsidiary of Alphabet, most users are continue to refer to the company and its products as Google.
All press assets were supplied by Meta via its Newsroom