It’s official now. The social networking parent business behind Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus has a new name after 17 years as Facebook.
Meta is the new name for Facebook’s corporate entity.
Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder, revealed the move during the company’s AR/VR-focused Connect event, saying the new title better conveyed the company’s main ambition: to build the metaverse.
“I am pleased to announce that our company will now be known as Meta, in order to better reflect who we are and what we aspire to achieve.” Our mission hasn’t changed: we’re still trying to bring people together. “Neither our apps nor our branding are changing,” Zuckerberg stated. “From now on, we’re going to prioritize the metaverse over Facebook.”
The name change comes at a… convenient time for Facebook, which has faced a sustained backlash to its brand, most recently in recent weeks after a former employee leaked a trove of documents to the media and government bodies detailing the company’s missteps in responsibly building out its platform over the years. For months, Facebook had been preparing the framework for this transition, ostensibly to distance its core image from the constant bad headlines surrounding its most popular product, which has become a lightning rod for user dissatisfaction.
In a profile for the Verge in July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company was betting everything on the metaverse. While Facebook has invested a lot of money and effort on virtual reality gear, its social VR products have typically been short-lived failures, and it had said very nothing about its beta Horizons social network since introducing it over a year and a half ago.
In August, Facebook coordinated an unusually large press push for a virtual reality program that allows individuals to take virtual meetings. Zuckerberg went on the morning shows and spent an unusual amount of time promoting the little VR app.
In September, Facebook launched a $50 million fund dedicated to research funding “to guarantee these products are produced responsibly” in a blog post titled “Building the Metaverse Responsibly.” Facebook launched a smaller $10 million creator fund for developers on its nascent Horizon Worlds platform earlier this month, as well as plans to hire 10,000 people in the EU to expand out their metaverse platform.
Last week, The Verge reported that Facebook was considering changing the name of its corporate company.
Distancing the company’s primary business from the product with the most issues is an understandable approach, but changing its name to Meta will demand Facebook to link its core brand with a product that might be years away from relevance and face numerous setbacks on its road to widespread success. Facebook still has 2.5 billion users, whereas its metaverse goods are likely to have only a few thousand.
It’s not the first time that one of tech’s biggest corporations has changed its name. In 2015, Google introduced its own corporate structure, forming Alphabet as a parent company. Although Google is still a subsidiary of Alphabet, most people still refer to anything related to the firm or its subsidiaries as “Google,” for better or worse. Facebook can undoubtedly expect the same treatment after nearly two decades of creating its brand and growing its products to around three billion monthly users.
While Google was not attempting to disassociate itself from its own name, Facebook’s rebranding had quite different motivations. The company’s revenue continues to grow, but its reputation has suffered in recent years, thanks to Russian election meddling in 2016, major privacy lapses like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and now the flurry of ongoing revelations from Frances Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s civic integrity team turned Facebook whistleblower.
In addition, Facebook is arguably under more regulatory scrutiny than any other corporation in the digital industry at the time. In Congress, where lawmakers rarely agree on anything, Republicans and Democrats have united in their dislike of Instagram’s unbridled expansion, ruthless business techniques, and concerns about the company’s negative consequences on teen mental health.
Each social media company hurried to openly contrast their own business methods with Facebook during a Senate hearing last week with TikTok, Snap, and YouTube. YouTube claimed that it did not “put profits before of safety.” Snap emphasized its own focus on ephemeral communications, while TikTok maintained that it considers young users’ well-being. However, it looked that Facebook’s competitors’ efforts were in vain.
Senator Richard Blumenthal stated, “Being different from Facebook is not a defense.” “That bar is in the gutter,” says the narrator.