Facebook rebrands as ‘Meta,’ heralding a new phase

Basmalla Attia

Facebook Inc., Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant, announced on Oct. 28 that it will rebrand as Meta as part of its plan to lead the metaverse world after a series of recent allegations against the company by a whistleblower.

Facebook unveiled its rebranding plan at the Connect conference, which is an annual company event highlighting advances in augmented reality/virtual reality technology, with Meta as its new name, according to CNBC. The new name comes from the Greek word for “beyond,” representing the Metaverse world Facebook hopes to continue developing, according to CNN.

The Metaverse, a name long associated with science fiction, is a futuristic vision of virtual interaction where people will interact as if they are in a physical environment. One can perform activities like shopping, setting up meetings with clients and co-workers and even buy property in the virtual environment, according to the New York Post.

“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter.

Zuckerberg showed a demo of a Pixar-like animation at the conference with him as an avatar picking upa call from his wife, Priscilla, from his watch to give a glimpse of how he envisions the Metaverse world.

Facebook’s stock ticker will be changed from FB to MVRS, effective Dec.1, according to CNBC.

WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus will also be affected, as they will be under the new umbrella company. Facebook will be demoted to a subsidiary company of Meta, alongside WhatsApp and Instagram, according to Bloomberg.

Meta plans to hire 10,000 people to build the Metaverse platform in Europe, according to The Verge. Over the next year, the company said it will spend $10 billion on the development of technologies to facilitate the building of the metaverse platform, according to CNBC.

This is not the first time a major company has decided to rebrand, although the choice can be for various reasons. Google LLC rebranded as Alphabet, Inc. to represent that it is a technology conglomerate while ValuJet changed to Airtran after one of its planes crashed, according to CNN.

Critics say this rebranding is Facebook’s attempt at a new start after its flaws have been showcased to the public.page1image18289152 page1image18296832

Facebook has faced criticism due to many claims like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the tech giant allegedly misled users about privacy and allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal information of 87 million users. More recent claims include allowing the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation and even promoting genocide, according to Vice.

Many fear that the recent move is only a rebranding strategy in name and that the new Metaverse will only compound the current issues with the company’s platforms to which the Senate is trying to hold Facebook accountable.

Facebook has been under fire since a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, recently presented papers to The Wall Street Journal and testified against Facebook in Congress. She claimed that Facebook is aware of the harm it is doing to the mental health of its users whiles, misleading investors and advertisers through putting profit over safety, according to CNBC.

Zuckerberg denied these claims, claiming that a false image of the company is being painted, according to Insider.

Meta, however, has tried to hint that the developing Metaverse would not allow a larger misuse of data as many fear.

“Today’s announcement does not affect how we use or share data,” the company said in an official press release on the day of their conference.

An interesting future awaits the Metaverse as we approach the evolution of virtual interactions.