(CNN) – Facebook changes company name as it focuses on ‘metaverse’ and faces scrutiny of real-world harms from its various platforms after whistleblower leaks hundreds of internal documents .
Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that Facebook will change its corporate name to Meta, demoting Facebook’s namesake service to one of the company’s subsidiaries, alongside Instagram and WhatsApp, rather than the global brand.
The company formerly known as Facebook also said in a press release that it plans to start trading under the ticker symbol “MVRS” on December 1.
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 of its products on the mental health of some users.
The name change, which was announced by Zuckerberg at the company’s Facebook Connect conference on virtual reality and augmented reality, aligns with his growing interest in the metaverse, which refers to efforts to combine the virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to who we are as we begin this next chapter. Facebook is one of the most widely used products in the history of the world,” Zuckerberg said Thursday. “It’s an iconic social media brand, but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything we do.
“Today we’re seen as a social media company,” he added, “but in our DNA, we’re a company that builds technologies to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier, just like social media was when we started. “
Zuckerberg, who said he enjoyed studying the classics in school, said the name was inspired by the Greek word meta, which means “beyond.” “To me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build.”
Facebook did not announce any management change on Thursday. But on Zuckerberg’s personal Facebook page, his job title was changed to: “Founder and CEO of Meta.”
When asked by The Verge if he would remain CEO of Facebook for the next 5 years, he replied, “Probably. I don’t have a specific date for how long I want to do this. I guess what I do. could tell is that I am very excited about the next chapter of what we are doing. “
Zuckerberg kicked off the big product event by teasing a series of new social, gaming, and workplace concepts for the metaverse – and acknowledging the optics of focusing on such products under scrutiny. of the company.
“I know some people will say this is not the time to focus on the future, and I want to recognize that there are important issues to work on in the present. There will always be.” Zuckerberg said. “So for a lot of people, I’m not sure there will ever be a good time to focus on the future. But I also know that a lot of you feel the same way as I do.”
“We live for what we build,” Zuckerberg added. “And while we make mistakes, we keep learning, building and moving forward.”
Facebook showed off a series of concept videos that highlighted their take on the 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 coworkers. remote or play immersive games with friends. Facebook recently announced that it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to develop the concept.
Will a name change have an impact on what you think of the social media giant?
Zuckerberg also announced that Messenger Call is coming to VR, plans to tap a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods and a new home screen in Oculus Quest to make chat and games in the virtual world more social.
“Your devices will no longer be the focal point of your attention,” he said. “We’re starting to see a lot of these technologies come together over the next five or ten years. this one, every day. “
A number of large companies have changed their established brands over the years. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, the Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan. Some high-profile name changes followed scandal or controversy. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.
Further name changes aim to reflect the company’s broader ambitions. Snapchat was renamed Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware, and Google has restructured the company with a new name, Alphabet, and plans to develop various business divisions.
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