At Facebook’s annual connect conference last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced the major news that Facebook is changing its name to Meta to reflect its growing focus on the ‘metaverse.’
Zuckerberg said: “From now on, we’re going to be the metaverse first, not Facebook first… Our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone the future.”
If you’re wondering what the ‘metaverse’ is this term describes the social, 3D virtual space where you share immersive experiences with other people, even when you can’t be together in person. When you’re in the metaverse with someone, it means you can play sport with them, work with them, interact with them – even if you’re not in the same space in the physical world.
Zuckerberg said in his speech at the conference: “I’m proud of what we’ve built so far, and I’m excited about what comes next — as we move beyond what’s possible today, beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics, and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities and experience new things. It is a future that is beyond any one company and that will be made by all of us.”
The new company name will be called Meta
The company said in a statement that they chose the new name – Meta – “… because it can mean ‘beyond,’ and captures our commitment to building social technologies that take us beyond what digital connection makes possible today.”
Though its vision is expanding to virtual spaces where people interact virtually, the company said its corporate structure won’t change. Facebook and its apps Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will be housed in a separate division from Facebook Reality Labs, which makes the company’s augmented and virtual reality products, the company stated.
Rebranding comes when Facebook has been under scrutiny
The rebranding of one of the world’s most powerful tech companies comes as Facebook is embroiled in a public relations crisis over some documents leaked by former product manager Frances Haugen and provided to Congress. The documents or ‘Facebook papers’ as they’ve been dubbed, apparently provide a rare glimpse inside the company and decisions it’s made which are seen to prioritise profits over the staff’s well-being.
Zuckerberg said this week the news coverage of these documents has painted a “false picture” of the company and that this negative news had no bearing on the decision to rebrand.
We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too.
In recent decades, technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally. When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites. When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.
The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.
The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.
In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today. We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day.
In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint…
The metaverse will not be created by one company. It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies…
Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers…
Our mission remains the same — 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.
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…
I’m dedicating our energy to this — more than any other company in the world. If this is the future you want to see, I hope you’ll join us. The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.
For more from Women Love Tech about Facebook, visit here.