Facebook changes company name to Meta, to explore virtual reality technology

FACEBOOK INC on Thursday officially announced that it has changed its company name to Meta, at the Facebook connect augmented and virtual reality conference.

However, the social-media service will retain Facebook as its name while the umbrella company will delve into new mixed-reality platform.

The new name reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media which extends to its vision for working and playing in a virtual world.

The Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg in a letter read at the event said the new name is adopted from the new moniker, based on the sci-fi term metaverse.

“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,” he said.

The company also stated the new name will reflect on its stock ticker from FB to MVRS, effective Dec. 1.

In July, the company announced the formation of a team that would work on the metaverse, stating it will break out Reality Labs, its hardware division, into its own reporting segment, in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“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,” Zukerberg said.

He also provided a demonstration of the company’s ambitions for the metaverse saying it intends to build a Pixar-like animation with users hanging out in space as cartoon-like versions of themselves  representing their virtual selves.

“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” he said.

Meta announced a new virtual reality headset named Project Cambria. The device will be a high-end product available at a higher price point than the $299 Quest 2 headset.






     

     

    The re-branding of Facebook comes amid a barrage of news reports last month, after Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower released a trove of internal company documents to news outlets, lawmakers and regulators.

    The reports show that the company was aware of many of the harms its apps and services cause but either doesn’t rectify the issues or struggles to address them.

    Other companies have renamed or rebranded themselves over the decades for several reasons, for example, Philip Morris changed its name in 2003 to Altria Group Inc due to widespread condemnation of Big Tobacco over cigarettes’ harmful heath effects.

    Apple Inc. shortened its name from Apple Computer in 2007 to reflect the growth of other products like iPods and iPhones, while Google restructured in 2015 to create a parent company named Alphabet Inc for its array of side businesses.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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