Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant will change the name of its holding company to Meta, in a rebrand that comes as the company faces a series of public relations crises.
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 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”.
In 2015, Google restructured its company calling its parent firm Alphabet, however, the name has not caught on.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the new name as he unveiled 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.
“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” he told a virtual conference.
“We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for our family of apps, and one for our work on future platforms. “And as part of this, it is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do, to reflect who we are and what we hope to build.” The company also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.
Mr Zuckerberg said the new name reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company’s other services. The word “meta” comes from the Greek word meaning “beyond”. To an outsider, a metaverse may look like a version of VR, but some people believe it could be the future of the internet.
Instead of being on a computer, people in a metaverse might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments. It is hoped the virtual world could be used for practically anything from work, play and concerts, to socialising with friends and family. Facebook said it intends to start trading it shares under the new stock ticker MVRS from 1 December.