Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the firm would rename as Meta in order to better reflect its virtual-reality vision for the future, which he refers to as the “metaverse.”
Skeptics point out that it looks to be an attempt to divert attention away from the Facebook Papers, a stolen document trove named as such by a group of news companies including The Associated Press. Many of these documents, which were initially published by former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, show how Facebook ignored or downplayed internal concerns about the detrimental and frequently catastrophic repercussions of its algorithms throughout the world.
The Facebook app, as well as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, are here to stay, as is the company’s organizational structure. However, its shares will begin trading under a new ticker symbol, “MVRS,” on December 1.
“Facebook is the world’s social media platform, and they’re being accused of producing something destructive to people and society,” marketing strategist Laura Ries said. She contrasted the moniker Meta to BP’s rebranding to “Beyond Petroleum” in response to environmental concerns. “They can’t just change their corporate name and speak about a future metaverse and walk away from the social network.”
What is the metaverse, and how does it work? Consider it the internet come to life, or at the very least rendered in 3D. It’s a “virtual environment” that you can enter instead of just staring at on a screen, according to Zuckerberg. It’s basically an universe of infinite, linked virtual communities where people can meet, work, and play utilizing virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone applications, and other technologies.
According to Victoria Petrock, an expert who analyzes developing technologies, it will also include other areas of online life such as shopping and social networking.
Other tech giants, like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Epic Games, have all outlined their own plans for how the metaverse would function.
After hearing about Facebook’s name change from a reporter, Richard Kerris, vice president of Nvidia’s Omniverse platform, stated, “That’s cool.” “We believe that, just as there are many firms constructing virtual worlds and environments on the World Wide Web, there will be many companies building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse.”
According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse will reach a billion individuals in the next decade. It will be a space where people can communicate, collaborate, and develop goods and content in what he thinks will be a new ecosystem that will generate millions of employment for artists.
The news comes as Facebook faces an existential crisis. Following the disclosures in the Facebook Papers, it is under increased legal and regulatory scrutiny in many areas of the world.
Some of Facebook’s harshest critics expressed their displeasure. The Real Facebook Oversight Board, an anti-Facebook watchdog group, has stated that it will preserve its original name.
In a statement, the organization stated, “Changing their name doesn’t change reality: Facebook is undermining our democracy and is the world’s largest dealer of falsehood and hatred.” “Their inconsequential rebranding should not detract from the inquiry, regulation, and meaningful, independent supervision that are required to hold Facebook responsible.”
Zuckerberg explained the rebranding by saying that the word “Facebook” no longer encompasses what the firm does. This now includes Instagram, Messenger, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform, and more, in addition to its flagship social network.
“We are now perceived as a social media firm,” remarked Zuckerberg. “However, we are a firm that produces technology to connect people,” says the CEO.
A corporate makeover won’t fix Facebook’s plethora of flaws, as thousands of internal papers have exposed in recent weeks. It’s unlikely to convince people to quit calling Facebook a “social media behemoth” — or even a “social media giant” for that matter.
But it doesn’t seem to bother Zuckerberg, who is eager to move on to his next great project even as the firm he founded faces problem after crisis.
While mainly rejecting the findings in the Facebook Papers as unjustified criticism, Zuckerberg has concentrated his efforts on creating a virtual environment that people can interact with rather than just gaze at on a screen.
Zuckerberg believes the metaverse will be the future way people engage with computers — and each other — in the same manner that smartphones supplanted desktop computers. If Instagram and Messenger were Facebook’s ventures into the mobile space, Meta is the company’s wager on the metaverse. What better way to show how serious he is than to alter his name?
The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, a metaverse-focused fund, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year with the ticker name META, which may have prompted Facebook to chose MVRS instead.
“I think my phone is melting,” its creator, metaverse enthusiast Matthew Ball, tweeted Thursday after Zuckerberg’s announcement. He said in an interview that he welcomed Facebook’s metaverse vision, noting the company was already one of the highest-rated stocks in his index.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said