Facebook’s Historic Name Change
On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook announced their departure from the name “Facebook” and a complete makeover. The company, now known as Meta, hopes to “build technology to connect” to “unlock a massively bigger creator economy.” The name change comes from efforts to shift their focus from primarily a social media company and move towards building a “metaverse” as outlined at Zuckerberg’s Connect conference. Facebook has already been working on hardware such as AR glasses and other products beyond social media that already have over 10,000 employees working.
In a recent blog post, Zuckerberg wrote that the “defining quality of the metaverse” will emulate the feeling of being with another individual like they are right there. He also writes that the future holds holographic technology, augmented reality, and more beyond the physical world. Furthermore, Zuckerberg reports that the essential corporate structure of Facebook would not change but they do “plan to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs” which means that Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and other related apps will be reported separated from Metaverse-related products. Meta will begin trading under a new stock ticker, MVRS, beginning December 1st.
Earlier, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s earnings indicate profits would fall by nearly 10 billion due to the company’s investment in the “metaverse” and related equipment to make the shift. He also shared a long, one-hour-long video explaining the demo version of what his idea of the metaverse would look like, highlighting the new ways normal activities will be enhanced by this new technology.
This change in the company’s name and prospects comes after many weeks of Facebook under fire for their lack of attention towards hate speech on the platform that has created an unhealthy environment for teens. Facebook’s whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified that the “profit-optimizing machine” is a place where “self-harm and self-hate” are not policed and affects especially vulnerable people including young teens.
In a way, the shift in names can be seen as a way of rebranding and letting go of its toxic history, an idea that has inevitably been faced with more criticism. It is hard to say what the result of the renaming will have on the future of social media, metaverse, and the use of technology in a safe way. It is, however, clear that the shift from Facebook to Meta is more than just a name change, it is a new universe of technology and advancement.