Facebook introduced its latest company name on Thursday, Oct. 28, rebranding the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp as “Meta.”
According to New York Post, in a lengthy online event, founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company’s previous name “doesn’t encompass everything that we do.”
Therefore, at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference, the name change was announced. Zuckerberg stated the company’s long-term plan is to create a “metaverse” – a virtual reality world where people may interact, work, play games, and create art.
“Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
The change comes as Facebook tries to shake off a slew of scandals following the leak of company research showing Instagram’s negative effect on teen mental health, Facebook’s struggles to stop human trafficking on its platform, and the widespread dissemination of false election news on its sites.
According to CNBC, the scandals came after Wall Street Journal released a series of stories titled “The Facebook Files,” from documents provided by Haugen. The series revealed internal documents that showed the tech giant was aware of the harm caused by its Instagram service to teenagers’ mental health.
In a testimony before the Senate earlier this month, Haugen insisted that Facebook’s internal investigation, published by her, also exposed that its platforms amplify hate, misinformation, and political unrest.
Facebook attempted to discredit Haugen at the time and continues to push back against the stories stemming from the documents she released.
“With all the scrutiny and public debate, some of you might be wondering why we’re doing this right now,” said Zuckerberg. “Some people will say that this isn’t a time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present. There always will be.
“For many people, I’m not sure there will be a good time to focus on the future,” Zuckerberg added.
Nonetheless, the new name was met with criticism on social media. Many critics claimed that the decision appeared to be a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the subject.
“This all happened because Zuckerberg never meta girl until college,” one Twitter user wrote.
“No Meta what you call Facebook it sucks,” said another.
Zuckerberg said the company plans to spend billions of dollars on developing the metaverse and added that he hopes to have 1 billion people join the virtual world in the next ten years.
Even when the parent company gets rebranded, Facebook will keep its name.
On Dec. 1, the ticker symbol for Facebook’s stock on the Nasdaq will change from “FB” to “MVRS.”