Meta: The new Facebook inc.
Meta inc., is the new name of the erstwhile Facebook inc., which is the owner of many social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook and other companies like Oculus, producer of virtual reality headsets etc.
The news was announced on Thursday by Facebook, now Meta, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook connect augmented and virtual reality conference on Thursday.
The new name is to encompass the growing ambition of the company beyond just social media networks and a jump into VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) worlds, or popularly known as the sci-fi term “metaverse”.
Zuckerberg said on Thursday. “It (Facebook) is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything that we do.”
“Today we’re seen as a social media company,” he added, “but in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started.”
While Facebook CEO has pointed towards its growing ambition behind the name change, people have been quick to point out that it’s a veiled attempt by the social media giant to get rid of its controversial scandals and past.
The rebranding also comes at a time when the company has had to deal with a barrage of news reports in the past month stemming from its internal documents.
Facebook’s ex-employee Frances Haugen has turned whistleblower and come forward with trove of internal documents of Facebook. The internal documents have showcased how Facebook is used to spread hatred around the world and brings forth the lackadaisical approach of the company at fighting hate speech as it benefits them.
Meta is inspired from the Greek word-Meta, which means beyond, “for me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build” said Zuckerberg while explaining the name.
What is Metaverse?
The metaverse is where the physical and digital worlds come together. It is a space where digital representations of people – avatars – interact at work and play, meeting in their office, going to concerts and even trying on clothes.
Metaverse with the use of technologies like AR and VR can digitize our lives sort of into the famous game of “Sims”, where we can create our avatar and interact with the avatars of other users. The experience would be life-like.
Facebook showed a series of concept videos that highlighted its vision for metaverse, such as sending a holographic image of yourself to a concert with a friend attending in real life, sitting around virtual meeting tables with remote colleagues or playing immersive games with friends. Facebook recently said it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to build out the concept.
Meta CEO even pointed out that such technologies would start becoming mainstream in the coming 5 to 10 years with the work that is being done today.
Facebook Inc. was the name of the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.
However, the new name won’t affect how the company uses or shares data, and the corporate structure will not be changing either. Apps including the flagship social network Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will also keep their current names.
The company said its stock will start trading under a new ticker, MVRS, from Dec. 1st.
The company also replaced its corporate sign, which featured a picture of a “thumbs up,” outside of its California, headquarters with one showing its new logo: a slightly skewed blue infinity sign.
The erstwhile facebook inc. is trying to catapult its userbase of 3B globally into an audience which will be embrace digital adventures of augmented and virtual reality
Facebook is not the first brand to change its name. it has been done before by many different companies over the years. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan.
Whereas some high-profile name changes have followed after scandals or controversies. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.
Other name changes are intended to reflect the company’s broader ambitions. Snapchat rebranded as Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware and Google restructured the company with a new name, Alphabet, and plans to grow a variety of business divisions.