On Thursday, at Facebook’s annual developer-focused Connect conference, keynote speaker and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage—a virtual home—to announce the company’s latest update, along with a name change reflecting its new ambitions.
What’s the new name? Meta.
How about Facebook? The name was originally created from FaceMash’s first version in 2003.
“Increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything we do,” said Zuckerberg. “But right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today or in the future…I want to anchor our identity on what we’re building towards.” So, the parent company becomes Meta—though the social media app remains Facebook.
Meta, Facebook and many others associated with it continue to face the same problems they faced moments prior to the announcement. Instagram has received criticism for affecting the self-esteem and confidence of young users in the past 2 months. Generation Z. And leaked internal Facebook documents have shown the company was reluctant to do more to combat vaccine misinformation, the spread of fake news from white supremacist-supporting news outlets, and has devoted remarkably little resources to combatting the spread of Content that is harmfulIn developing countries, Facebook is the most popular social network.
Learn More A New Name Won’t Fix Facebook
Despite the timing, the move helps to establish a clearer hierarchy within Zuckerberg’s ad-powered empire. The social network is now one of several products that fall under the Meta parent company, which also includes WhatsApp and Oculus. It places an emphasis on the future, making Facebook look like it’s gone.
While the name change was the big finish on Meta’s keynote presentation, the majority of it focused on the company’s desire to establish what it calls a “metaverse,” an effort to unify the company’s existing brands (like Oculus) to create immersive virtual and mixed reality environments in which users can interact.
“You’re going to be able to do almost anything you can imagine,” said Zuckerberg, who described the multiple ways people would interact in VR. Zuckerberg emphasized the metaverse’s immersive potential, in situations like family visits or office meetings. “Instead of looking at a screen, you’re going to be in these experiences,” he said.