Facebook Changes it’s name to Meta

The future of Facebook, the company that will now be known as Meta, will no longer be defined by Facebook, the social network. Facebook Inc. is changing its name to distinguish itself from the company that is banking on the promise of a "metaverse" to save its beleaguered social network, which is gaining a bad reputation around the world. 

"Our brand is so closely associated with one product that it can't possibly represent everything we're doing now, let alone in the future," Zuckerberg said. "From now on, we're going to prioritize the metaverse over Facebook.”

During a virtual (meta-virtual?) keynote for the company's Connect event, Zuckerberg announced the new name. Facebook and its "family of apps" will now be a division of the larger Meta corporation, which will continue to be led by Zuckerberg. 

The restructuring resembles Google's reorganization into Alphabet, the holding company that now owns Google as well as its "other bets," such as DeepMind and Nest. Facebook previously stated that when reporting financial results, it intends to separate Facebook Reality Labs, its AR and VR division, from the rest of the company. It added in a new statement that its"corporate structure" will not change. Beginning in December, the company's stock ticker will change from FB to MVRS.

The name is being positioned as more reflective of the company's future ambitions to evolve from a social network to a metaverse. Although Zuckerberg is still defining what it means to be a "metaverse company" for its main platform and users, augmented and virtual reality is at the heart of the vision. Horizon Workrooms, a project that allows people to conduct meetings in virtual reality, has already been shown off in an early version by the company. New "Horizon Home" and "Horizon Venues" experiences were also shown off.

(According to incoming CTO Andrew Bosworth's post, all of the company's social VR products will fall under the larger "Meta Horizon" brand.) In addition, the company announced earlier this month that it plans to hire 10,000 new employees in Europe to expand its metaverse. 

The company's name change also comes at a particularly perilous time in its history. The "Facebook Papers," a trove of internal documents collected by a former employee turned whistleblower, has left the social network reeling. The documents have been the source of more than a dozen reports about the company's failures to stem the tide of misinformation, hate speech, and other harms caused by the platform, as well as a series of complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The iconic Facebook "thumbs up" will no longer be the company's official logo or on signage at its headquarters as a result of the new name. (Incidentally, a central narrative of the Facebook Papers disclosures has been the role of "likes" and other reactions in enabling hate and anger on Facebook.)

The new logo was optimized for 3D experiences and "designed to be experienced from different perspectives and interacted with," according to a blog post about the design of the new name and logo. 

It's worth noting that the new name has no effect on the main Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp services, which will continue to be known by their old names. However, as time goes on, the services may become more metaverse-oriented. Users can expect "a more immersive Instagram experience in the metaverse," according to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.

Some "relevant products and services," according to Bosworth, will be rebranded as well, such as the Portal series, which will eventually be rebranded as "Meta Portal." The Oculus name will also be "retired," with the VR products adopting the Meta moniker.

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