On Thursday, the world’s largest social networking giant, Facebook, took the plunge toward an overhaul and announced rebranding itself as Meta to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future. The rebranding move comes as part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intent to transition from a social media establishment to a “metaverse” company.
While announcing at Facebook’s annual AR/VR conference, Zuckerberg said, “I have been thinking a lot about our identity. Our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we are doing today, let alone the future.” He further added, “From now on, we are going to put the metaverse first, not Facebook. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse brand.”
Facebook defines the metaverse as a virtual space that will enable you to hang out with friends, play, learn, work, shop, create, and more. The company says, “It’s not essentially about spending more time online – it’s about making the time you spend online more meaningful.”
The company has since unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in California, with their thumbs-up logo being replaced by a sleek blue infinity shape. The name change will not affect the individual platforms that Zuckerberg’s company owns, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It will only be applied to the holding company. Retaining Facebook as the corporate name when the brand now owned many applications and was primarily about connecting people was no more workable, the CEO said.
Following the announcement, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri released a video explaining the metaverse concept through the app. According to him, users could expect a more immersive Instagram experience in the metaverse. One aspect he highlighted in the video is how we use a screen to connect with our family and friends, and how this will change in the upcoming years. “An internet that you are not on, but rather in,” he added. Mosseri also shared that Facebook (now Meta) believes that whether or not you put a name to it, our modern world will enter this new reality, and the company plans to lean into this evolution.
By rebranding Facebook to Meta, it is being speculated that Zuckerberg is hoping to hit reset on its public image. Shocking revelations from former Facebook employee turned whistle-blower Frances Haugen have given the company’s reputation a devastating blow. Earlier this month, Haugen testified before the Senate subcommittee and exposed toxic business practices and the company’s lack of willingness about its platforms’ potential for harm.
Meanwhile, an activist group called ‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ was quoted as saying, “Facebook feels that a rebrand can help them change the subject, but the real issue was the need for regulation and oversight.”
Earlier this week, Facebook disclosed it was hiring 10,000 people in the European Union over the next five years to build its vision for a “metaverse”, which supporters of the concept believe could ultimately replace the internet. “The metaverse will reach a billion people in the next decade and forever change how we relate to each other on every level,” stated Zuckerberg.