Facebook revealed its new corporate name on Thursday, rebranding the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as “Meta” as it grapples with a torrent of scandals.
The tech giant’s old name just “doesn’t encompass everything that we do,” founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a lengthy online event.
The new name is part of Zuckerberg’s long-term push to emphasize the “metaverse” — the company’s budding virtual reality world where users can socialize, work, play games and create art.
Thursday’s presentation included demonstrations of what Zuckerberg said were the possibilities of the metaverse. In one demo, a user wearing a headset walked the streets of ancient Rome, while in another, a user attended a virtual reality rock concert and afterparty.
The change comes as Facebook seeks to shake a torrent of scandals after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked company research showing Instagram’s negative effect on teens’ mental health, Facebook’s struggles to stop human trafficking on its platform and the widespread sharing of false news about elections on its sites.
A defiant Zuckerberg — who has not publicly responded to calls to testify in Congress amid the scandals — indirectly addressed the issue during the event and accused critics of being stuck in the past.
“With all the scrutiny and public debate, some of you might be wondering why we’re doing this right now,” said Zuckerberg. “Some people will say that this isn’t a time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present. There always will be.
“For many people, I’m not sure there will be a good time to focus on the future,” added Zuckerberg in an apparently sarcastic jab.
Facebook said its stock’s ticker symbol on the Nasdaq will change from “FB” to “MVRS” on Dec. 1.
Zuckerberg said the company plans to spend billions of dollars on developing the metaverse and added that he hopes to have 1 billion people join the virtual world in the next ten years. Ad dollars from Facebook’s core products will supplement the development of the metaverse, which the company has said will not be profitable for years.
The company’s new “Meta” logo includes what appears to be a warped version of the infinity symbol. The company’s most popular products, the social media site Facebook, will keep its name even as the parent company is rebranded.
Facebook has repainted the sign outside its Silicon Valley headquarters with the Meta logo, according to videos shared on Twitter.
The new name is part of Zuckerberg’s long-term push to emphasize the “metaverse” — a virtual reality world where users can socialize, work, play games and create art.
The “Meta” logo includes what appears to be a warped version of the infinity symbol.