Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the parent company’s name is being changed to “Meta” to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network.
The new handle comes as the social media giant tries to fend off one of its worst crises yet and pivot to its ambitions for the “metaverse” virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will keep their names under the rebranding.
“We’ve learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we’ve learned and help build the next chapter,” Zuckerberg said during an annual developers conference.
“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing,” he added.
The company, which has invested heavily in augmented and virtual reality, said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand. It said it would not change its corporate structure.
The tech giant, which reports about 2.9 billion monthly users, has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years from global lawmakers and regulators.
In the latest controversy, whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked documents which she said showed the company chose profit over user safety. Zuckerberg earlier this week said the documents were being used to paint a “false picture.”
The company said in a blog post that it intends to start trading under the new stock ticker it has reserved, MVRS, on Dec. 1. On Thursday, it unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.
Facebook said this week that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is responsible for AR and VR efforts, would become a separate reporting unit and that its investment in it would reduce this year’s total operating profit by about $10 billion. The unit will now be called Reality Labs, it’s head Andrew “Boz” Bosworth tweeted on Thursday.
Zuckerberg said the new name also reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company’s other services.
This year, the company created a product team focused on the metaverse and it recently announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over the next five years to work on the effort.
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