One of the world’s biggest social networks Facebook has changed its corporate name to Meta as part of a major rebrand strategy.
Facebook said the new name, Meta does better to “encompass” what it does, as it broadens its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality (VR). However, the name change doesn’t apply to its individual platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, only the parent company that owns them.
According to reports, the name change was driven by the recent data leak which exposed the company for neglecting the wellbeing of its users over profits including a series of negative stories that have surrounded it for years now.
The recent data leak, which was based on documents released by Frances Haugen, an ex-employee of Facebook revealed a lot of dark secrets about the company’s operations. The whistleblower has also accused the company of putting “profits over safety”.
Whether this move will help in changing the public’s view towards Facebook is yet to be seen, concerns still remain as many believe the company doesn’t have the interests of its users at heart and only seeks to exploit and misuse their data for profits.
Similar tech companies like Google also undertook the same move when it restructured and changed the name of its parent company to Alphabet in 2015.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the new name as he unveiled plans to build a “metaverse” – an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.
He said the existing brand could not “possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future”, and needed to change.
“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.”
Facebook rebranding and changing its parent company name to Meta
The company also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.
Mr Zuckerberg said the new name reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company’s other services. The word “meta” comes from the Greek word meaning “beyond”.
To an outsider, a metaverse may look like a version of VR, but some people believe it could be the future of the internet.
Instead of being on a computer, people in a metaverse might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments.
It is hoped the virtual world could be used for practically anything from work, play and concerts, to socialising with friends and family. Facebook said it intends to start trading its shares under the new stock ticker MVRS from 1 December.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.