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Facebook changes its name to Meta

The rebrand marks the company's shift toward a greater focus on virtual reality, Facebook's CEO says

Cars drive by the Meta sign at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park on Oct. 28, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The iconic blue thumbs-up sign outside Facebook headquarters on Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park came down on Thursday, replaced by a new logo: a slightly compressed infinity sign in varying hues of blue. Facebook and its products have rebranded under the new corporate name Meta.

In an online presentation Thursday, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebrand to emphasize his company's greater focus on what he calls the "metaverse," in which the digital and real worlds will collide.

In one demonstration, Zuckerberg is seen fully immersed in a virtual world, hosting a poker game with digital avatars, presumably controlled by real people, while simultaneously holding video calls with others from the outside world.

"Facebook is one of the most-used products in the history of the world. It is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly, it just doesn’t encompass everything we do," Zuckerberg said in the presentation. "I want to anchor our work and our identity in what we are building towards."

The social media app will still be called Facebook, and Instagram will still be Instagram. But much like Google's restructuring in 2015, which came with a name change to Alphabet, Facebook will use Meta as an umbrella term to encompass all of its products, which include WhatsApp and Oculus, the company's virtual reality headset brand, among others.

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"When people buy our products, we want them to clearly understand that all of these devices come from Meta and ladder up to our metaverse vision," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of virtual and augmented reality at Facebook, wrote.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg further outlined his vision for the "next chapter for the internet," in which people can immerse themselves into digital versions of the real world rather than, for example, spending time in commute to go into the office.

"In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up," Zuckerberg wrote. "This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You'll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint."

While Meta may better reflect the company's new priorities, the name change also comes when the social media giant is mired in mounting government and public scrutiny — perhaps the most since the company's inception in 2004.

Recently, after the company was already facing calls to be broken up into smaller companies by lawmakers, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, leaked troves of confidential documents, revealing how her employer was aware that its social media products like Instagram help spread disinformation and negatively impact teenagers' mental health. The company has the tools to fix the problems, but chooses not to do anything about it, Haugen said.

"Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety," she said in a "60 Minutes" interview on Oct. 3.

Haugen, who joined Facebook in 2019 and was part of its civic misinformation team, testified in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Oct. 5, urging federal lawmakers to further regulate the company.

Zuckerberg and his company have since maintained that Haugen and the barrage of media reports that followed it have mischaracterized their intentions.

"It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

The Thursday announcement did not indicate if Facebook will be restructured along with the name change. The company stock will start trading under a new ticker, MVRS, starting Dec. 1.

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Facebook changes its name to Meta

The rebrand marks the company's shift toward a greater focus on virtual reality, Facebook's CEO says

by Lloyd Lee / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 29, 2021, 11:48 am

The iconic blue thumbs-up sign outside Facebook headquarters on Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park came down on Thursday, replaced by a new logo: a slightly compressed infinity sign in varying hues of blue. Facebook and its products have rebranded under the new corporate name Meta.

In an online presentation Thursday, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebrand to emphasize his company's greater focus on what he calls the "metaverse," in which the digital and real worlds will collide.

In one demonstration, Zuckerberg is seen fully immersed in a virtual world, hosting a poker game with digital avatars, presumably controlled by real people, while simultaneously holding video calls with others from the outside world.

"Facebook is one of the most-used products in the history of the world. It is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly, it just doesn’t encompass everything we do," Zuckerberg said in the presentation. "I want to anchor our work and our identity in what we are building towards."

The social media app will still be called Facebook, and Instagram will still be Instagram. But much like Google's restructuring in 2015, which came with a name change to Alphabet, Facebook will use Meta as an umbrella term to encompass all of its products, which include WhatsApp and Oculus, the company's virtual reality headset brand, among others.

"When people buy our products, we want them to clearly understand that all of these devices come from Meta and ladder up to our metaverse vision," Andrew Bosworth, vice president of virtual and augmented reality at Facebook, wrote.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg further outlined his vision for the "next chapter for the internet," in which people can immerse themselves into digital versions of the real world rather than, for example, spending time in commute to go into the office.

"In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up," Zuckerberg wrote. "This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You'll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint."

While Meta may better reflect the company's new priorities, the name change also comes when the social media giant is mired in mounting government and public scrutiny — perhaps the most since the company's inception in 2004.

Recently, after the company was already facing calls to be broken up into smaller companies by lawmakers, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, leaked troves of confidential documents, revealing how her employer was aware that its social media products like Instagram help spread disinformation and negatively impact teenagers' mental health. The company has the tools to fix the problems, but chooses not to do anything about it, Haugen said.

"Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety," she said in a "60 Minutes" interview on Oct. 3.

Haugen, who joined Facebook in 2019 and was part of its civic misinformation team, testified in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Oct. 5, urging federal lawmakers to further regulate the company.

Zuckerberg and his company have since maintained that Haugen and the barrage of media reports that followed it have mischaracterized their intentions.

"It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

The Thursday announcement did not indicate if Facebook will be restructured along with the name change. The company stock will start trading under a new ticker, MVRS, starting Dec. 1.

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