On Thursday, Facebook’s parent business was renamed “Meta,” as the internet giant strives to move away from its scandal-plagued social network and toward its virtual reality vision for the future.
The company’s new identity comes as it fights to survive one of its greatest crises yet and pivot to its plans for the “metaverse,” which would blur the barriers between the physical and digital worlds.
Under the rebranding, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, which are used by billions around the world, would preserve their identities, which opponents have characterized as an attempt to divert attention away from the platform’s dysfunction.
“From grappling with social concerns and living under closed platforms, we’ve learned a lot, and now it’s time to take what we’ve learned and help construct the next chapter,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the annual developers conference.
“I am pleased to report that our company has changed its name to Meta as of today. Our mission hasn’t changed: it’s still about bringing people together, and our apps and brands haven’t changed either “Added he.
Critics of the corporation seized on the rebranding, with The Real Facebook Oversight Board claiming that the network is undermining democracy by promoting misinformation and hatred.
“Their meaningless name change should not divert attention away from the inquiry, regulation, and meaningful, independent monitoring that are required to hold Facebook responsible,” the organization said in a statement.
Since former employee Frances Haugen disclosed reams of internal analyses revealing executives were aware of their services’ potential for harm, triggering a fresh US drive for regulation, the social media behemoth has been confronting one of its most serious crises.
Those records have been utilized by a group of US news outlets to produce a slew of devastating stories, including one accusing Zuckerberg of caving in to state censorship and another detailing how the site has fueled rage in the interest of keeping users engaged.
In a filing, Facebook stated that “it became subject to government inquiries and requests” in September as a result of the material leaked to lawmakers and regulators.
According to AFP, the corporation issued a “legal hold” to staff on Tuesday, which is an order to preserve papers and conversations because it is being investigated by authorities.
According to a recent Washington Post report, Facebook’s interest in a virtual metaverse world is “part of a broader campaign to rehabilitate the company’s reputation with lawmakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave internet technology.”
However, Zuckerberg stated that the vision represents the future in a more than one-hour broadcasted address that showed him exploring virtual reality realms.
“Within the next decade, Metaverse will have a billion users, hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce, and millions of employment for creators and developers,” he said.
“A dozen important technology achievements to get to the next generation metaverse,” the firm said during Zuckerberg’s address.
Facebook recently announced ambitions to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union to help construct the “metaverse,” with Zuckerberg emerging as a proponent of the concept.
The metaverse is, in fact, science fiction: Neal Stephenson originated the phrase in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” in which characters wear virtual reality headsets to participate in a game-like digital world.
Although Facebook has faced severe crises in the past, the current look behind the curtain of the closed firm has sparked a frenzy of critical reports and scrutiny from US regulators.
“Good faith criticism helps us improve,” Zuckerberg said on Monday, “but my sense is that what we’re witnessing is a coordinated effort to selectively utilize leaked documents to present a false picture of our firm.”
Despite other operations such as Waymo self-driving cars and Verily life sciences, Google rebranded itself as Alphabet in 2015, and the internet search and ad powerhouse remains its defining unit.