Facebook has changed its corporate name to Meta as part of a major rebrand.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the new name at Facebook’s annual AR/VR conference, where he outlined the company’s virtual-reality vision for the future. The company said it would better “encompass” what it does, as it broadens its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality (VR). The company plans to build a “metaverse” – an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.
He said the existing brand could not “possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future”, and needed to change.
The change does not apply to its individual platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, only the parent company that owns them.
The move follows a series of negative stories about Facebook, based on documents leaked by an ex-employee. Frances Haugen has accused the company of putting “profits over safety”.
Many people are suspicious of the rebrand, believing that the company is attempting to fend off the wave of bad press following misinformation on its platforms, revelations about the negative effect its products have on users’ mental health and content moderation failures.
Laurel Sutton, co-founder of the branding agency Catchword said: “There’s no name that’s going to rehabilitate the behaviour that they’ve displayed so far. Maybe put that time and energy into rehabilitating their morals and ethics and business decisions rather than just trying to slap a new name on something.”
Mike Carr, CEO of the branding agency NameStormers, agreed, saying: “Sounds like a cop out and an impossible task… Facebook has got ink all over their face and their reputation—it’s like now they’re throwing in the towel and giving up because there’s no way to save Facebook.”
Google restructured its company in 2015 calling its parent firm Alphabet, however, the name has yet to catch on.