Social networking giant Facebook, Inc. (FB) has announced that, as of Oct. 28, 2021, its parent company has been renamed and rebranded as Meta. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the new name is supposed to reflect the company's ambitions to be a leading player in the metaverse, which he says will be the future of the internet.
Zuckerberg says that he has been thinking about changing his company's name since acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively, but he finally decided to make the change earlier in 2021. "I think we're basically moving from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first," he told tech-oriented website The Verge in a telephone interview in the days prior to the announcement. "I think that there was just a lot of confusion and awkwardness about having the company brand be also the brand of one of the social media apps," he added.
Reflecting the name change, the company has reserved the ticker symbol MVRS. It plans to start trading under this new symbol starting on Dec. 1, 2021.
- Facebook (FB) has a new corporate name, Meta.
- The new name reflects its commitment to the metaverse, the next stage of evolution for the internet.
- The new name also reflects the fact that the Facebook platform is just one of several that the company now owns.
Investing in the Metaverse
Facebook reportedly has been investing heavily into building a metaverse, which can be described as an expansive, immersive vision of the internet. Its investment in such development work is estimated to be at least $10 billion in 2021 alone. Part of the project is supposed to include introducing a unified account system that will include all the company's social apps, the Oculus Quest headset, Portal, and future devices.
Zuckerberg's Vision of the Metaverse
Accompanying the announcement, Zuckerberg released a detailed letter. Highlights of his comments on the metaverse are quoted below.
"The next platform will be even more immersive—an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build."
"The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence—like you are right there with another person or in another place."
"In the metaverse, you'll be able to do almost anything you can imagine—get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create—as well as completely new experiences that don't really fit how we think about computers or phones today."
"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."
"Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more—instead of physical things assembled in factories, they'll be holograms designed by creators around the world."
"You’ll move across these experiences on different devices—augmented reality glasses to stay present in the physical world, virtual reality to be fully immersed, and phones and computers to jump in from existing platforms."
"From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services."
"Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers."
Zuckerberg on His Company's Role and Responsibility
Zuckerberg's letter also has a section bearing the title, "Our Role and Responsibility." Highlights are quoted below.
"The metaverse will not be created by one company."
"Our role in this journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps."
"As I wrote in our original founder’s letter: 'we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.'"
"The last five years have been humbling for me and our company in many ways. One of the main lessons I've learned is that building products people love isn’t enough."
"Privacy and safety need to be built into the metaverse from day one. So do open standards and interoperability. This will require not just novel technical work—like supporting crypto and NFT projects in the community—but also new forms of governance."