It was under fire for spreading misinformation and other problems, but the social network said the change was part of its wager on the metaverse, a new digital frontier it believes will one day emerge.
Facebook’s blue-and-white letter F has become one of the world’s most recognizable logos over the past two decades.
It’s over. As of Thursday, Facebook had taken an unmistakable step toward an overhaul by rebranding itself as Meta and removing the word “Facebook” from its name. A new corporate logo in the shape of an infinity symbol was created to go along with the rebranding. Meta will continue to house Facebook and its other apps like Instagram and WhatsApp.
With this move, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signaled his intention to refocus his Silicon Valley firm on what he sees as the next digital frontier: the unification of disparate digital worlds into a concept he calls the “metaverse”.
As a result, renaming Facebook may help the company distance itself from the social networking controversies it is currently facing, such as how it is used to spread hate speech and misinformation on the Internet.
On Thursday, at a virtual event showcasing Facebook’s future technological bets, Mr. Zuckerberg said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity” with this new chapter. “I hope we’re seen as a metaverse company in the long run,” he said.
In making the switch, Mr. Zuckerberg sent a message that his company was moving beyond the current state of social networking, on which it has been based since its inception some 17 years ago. A corporate name like “Facebook” was no longer appropriate, as the company now owns many apps and is fundamentally about connecting people.
Because Facebook has committed to creating a composite universe that blends online, virtual, and augmented worlds, Mr. Zuckerberg explained that this was especially true. Metaverse is his term for this emerging social network that will be built by a number of tech companies over a period of 10 years or more.
After separating its virtual reality and augmented reality businesses into a new division on Monday, Facebook has signaled its intent to be a major player in the industry.
A metaverse company will take some time to develop because the concept is theoretical and may take years to implement. With more than $86 billion in annual revenue, Facebook and its sister apps continue to be huge businesses, serving more than 3.5 billion people worldwide.
Two advantages come from changing the company name now rather than later. Recent weeks have seen some of the most intense scrutinies on Facebook in its history. Several lawmakers and members of the public have voiced concerns about Instagram’s photo-sharing app, which has been criticized for lowering the self-esteem of some teenagers, and for its role in spreading misinformation and inciting violence.
After Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee leaked internal documents revealing the extent to which the company was aware of the negative consequences of its activities, the outcry grew to a fever pitch.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to publish the findings gleaned from Ms. Haugen’s documents, which were then picked up by a number of other media outlets, including The New York Times.
There have been numerous congressional hearings and legal and regulatory inquiries as a result of these revelations. She spoke to British lawmakers in Parliament on Monday and urged them to put Facebook under regulation.
Facebook told its employees on Tuesday to “preserve internal documents and communications since 2016” that pertain to its businesses because governments and legislative bodies have begun inquiries into its operations.
The practice of a company rebranding is relatively uncommon, but it has been done before. Typically, they are used to signal a company’s structural reorganization or to separate a company from a toxic image.
New parent company Alphabet was formed in 2015 to better separate Google’s internet search business from its moonshot bets, which were being made in other areas. Netflix announced in 2011 that it would split its DVD-by-mail service into two separate businesses, renaming the service Qwikster for a brief period of time.
Following last week’s report by The Verge that Facebook may rebrand, social media was ablaze with less flattering comparisons. When Philip Morris rebranded to Altria Group in 2001 after years of reputational damage due to the health costs and effects of cigarettes on Americans, some recalled that move.
By contrast, Facebook’s vice president for global policy has branded the comparisons as “extremely misleading,” deeming them unconvincing.
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In 2015, Google Changed Its Name to Alphabet and Became a Subsidiary of The Parent Company. as A Result, Google Was Able to Broaden Its Scope Beyond Being Just a Web Indexing Giant. Snap Inc., the Parent Company of Snapchat, Underwent a Similar Rebranding in 2016.
Because of Zuckerberg’s Brilliant Metaverse Setup, the Rebranding of Facebook Is Critical. the Company Briefly Discussed It at The Connect Event, Which Focused on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.