Facebook is now Meta

Facebook is now Meta.

The last time Mark Zuckerberg renamed his social network, it was very cosmetic: dropping “The” from “The Facebook” (thank you, Justin Timberlake).

Yesterday, Facebook received a full makeover and will now be known as Meta.

Why the change?

The official reason is that Facebook wants a name to reflect its ambitions in the metaverse, which is a future vision of the internet that is a persistent shared digital space (and probably includes AR or VR tools).

Earlier in the week, Zuckerberg announced at Facebook’s earnings call that 2021 operating profits would fall by ~$10B because of the company’s huge investments in VR and metaverse-related hardware.

On Thursday, Zuckerberge laid out…

… the full metaverse road map

It took place during the Facebook Connect event. Here are highlights per The Verge:

  • “Meta” name: While obviously a nod to the “metaverse,” Zuckerberg already owned the URL meta.org for his medical philanthropic arm
  • Facebook Reality Labs: Zuckerberg said Meta’s corporate structure will stay the same but that the company will now report 2 operating segments: Family of Apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc.) and Facebook Reality Labs (VR/AR/Metaverse operations)
  • Examples of the Metaverse: In a 1hr+ video, Zuckerberg demo’d what metaverse life may look like including virtual fitness, exploration, and workplace activities
  • Ticker change: Facebook will start trading as $MVRS on December 1 (replacing $FB)

The changes come with Facebook under fire

Over the past few weeks, leaked internal documents — provided by former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen — showed how the platform was failing to police hate speech and potentially creating a toxic environment for teenage well-being.

Two popular comparisons for Facebook’s name change:

  • when cigarette giant Phillip Morris rebranded as Altria
  • when Google rebranded as Alphabet

The former was done as a way to ditch a toxic brand. The latter was done to create a tech holding business. How will history remember Facebook’s rebrand?

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