Facebook is now called Meta, in a rebrand that focuses on building the “metaverse,” a shared virtual environment that it bets will be the successor to the mobile internet.
A rebranding could be part of an effort to overhaul Facebook’s reputation and turn the page following a series of PR nightmares, including misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effect its products have on some users’ mental health.
The metaverse is a term coined in the dystopian novel “Snow Crash” three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley. It refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual realm which can be accessed by people using different devices. “I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity as we begin this next chapter. Facebook is one of the most used products in the history of the world,” Zuckerberg said on Thursday. “It is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything that we do.
The company also replaced its corporate sign, which featured a picture of a “thumbs up,” outside of its California, headquarters with one touting its new logo: a blue infinity sign.
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. The division will now be called Reality Labs, its head Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said on Thursday. The company will also stop using the Oculus branding for its VR headsets, instead calling them “Meta” products.
Zuckerberg said the new name, coming from the Greek word for “beyond,” symbolized there was always more to build. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday tweeted out a different definition “referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.”
Zuckerberg said the new name also reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company’s other services.