As had been widely anticipated, Facebook has unveiled a new company brand name: Meta. The new name was revealed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company’s Connect 2021 event. The company said that Meta’s focus will be “to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses”.
Many commentators see the rebrand as little more than an attempt to distract people from Facebook’s current ills, and to distance the company from its core social network origins.
In a Founder’s Letter, Zuckerberg talked about the evolution of the online world and said: “The next platform will be even more immersive – an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.
“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence – like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.
In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine – get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create – as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.”
He described a future where people would be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in their parents’ living room to catch up. “This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live,” Zuckerberg wrote. “You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint.”
He also wrote about the need for privacy and safety to be built into the metaverse from day one, which he said would require not just novel technical work but also new forms of governance.
“From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” Zuckerberg wrote. “That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services. As our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope people around the world come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for.”