Zuckerberg also announced that its tech giant’s name will be changed to “Meta” to reflect shifting interests, although critics have accused the company of attempting to use its high-profile name change announcement to deflect the attention of the the scrutiny it has faced from lawmakers and beyond in recent weeks.
The metaverse, a three-dimensional digital world created by augmented and virtual reality products and services, will be “the successor to the mobile Internet,” Zuckerberg said during his opening address at Facebook’s Connect conference Thursday. The CEO demonstrated that some of the experiences he says will soon be available in the digital realm, including connecting with friends and family, gaming, training and even working remotely via a digital avatar and the VR equipment.
“We are now looking at and presenting our business as two different segments, one for our family of applications and one for work on future platforms, and within that framework, it is time for us to embrace a new corporate brand to encompass everything we do to reflect who we are and what we hope to build, ”he said.
“I’m proud to report that as of today our business is now meta,” added Zuckerberg.
The Facebook chief said the word comes from the Greek term for “beyond” and is meant to symbolize “that there is always more to be built, there is always a next chapter in history.”
“Our mission remains the same to bring people together, our apps and their brands, they don’t change either,” added the CEO. “We’re still the company that designs technology around people, now we have a new North Star to help bring the Metaverse to life, and we have a new name that reflects the full scope of what we do and l future we want to help build. “
Finally, Zuckerberg said, “From now on, we’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first.”
The name change announcement comes just weeks after a corporate whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before lawmakers, alleging blatant disregard on the part of Facebook executives when they learned their platform could have detrimental effects on democracy and the mental health of young people.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, accused Facebook of “choosing to prioritize its profits over people” in her opening statement to lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee.
“You can declare moral bankruptcy and we can find a solution [to] these things together because we solve problems together, ”Haugen said.
Zuckerberg did not directly respond to Haugen’s claims in his remarks Thursday, saying only that “the past few years have been humiliating for me and our company in so many ways.” During his speech, which lasted over an hour, he mainly showed how he envisions people being able to use the metaverse and virtual or augmented reality tools in the near and distant future.
Copyright © 2021 ABC News Internet Ventures.