Facebook Rebrands itself as Meta

Mark Zuckerberg
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Mark Zuckerberg

Highlights

Facebook changed the name of its parent company to "Meta" as the tech giant tries to go from being a scandal-ridden social network to its virtual reality vision for the future

Facebook changed the name of its parent company to "Meta" as the tech giant tries to go from being a scandal-ridden social network to its virtual reality vision for the future. The new handle comes as the company struggles to fend off one of its worst crises yet and turn to its ambitions for the "metaverse," which would blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which are used by billions around the world, will keep their names under the call of critics of the rebrand, an effort to distract attention from the dysfunction of the platform.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an annual developers conference, "We've learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we've learned and help build the next chapter." "I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they're not changing," he further added.

Critics of the company were launched on the rebrand, and an activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board said the platform is damaging democracy while spreading disinformation and hatred.

The group said in a statement, "Their meaningless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real, independent oversight needed to hold Facebook accountable."

The social media giant has been battling one of its gravest crises since former employee Frances Haugen leaked dozens of internal studies showing executives were aware of the potential for harm of their sites, sparking renewed momentum in the US push for regulation.

Metaverse

Reports by a consortium of American media outlets have used those documents to produce a barrage of damning stories, including blaming Zuckerberg for his platform bowing to state censors and highlighting how the site has stoked anger in the name of maintaining to compromised users.

Facebook said in a filing that as of September "it was subject to government investigations and requests" related to the leaked documents to lawmakers and regulators. The company told AFP it issued employees a "legal hold" on Tuesday, which is an instruction to retain documents and communications because it faces inquiries from authorities.

A Washington Post report last month suggested that Facebook's interest in a metaverse virtual world is "part of a broader push to rehabilitate the company's reputation with policymakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave internet technologies."

However, Zuckerberg, in a broadcast message of more than an hour that showed him exploring virtual reality worlds, said that vision in the future. "Within the next decade, Metaverse will reach a billion people, post hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers," he said.

Facebook announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the "metaverse," with Zuckerberg emerging as one of the main proponents of the concept. The metaverse is, in fact, science fiction stuff: the term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel "Snow Crash," in which people don virtual reality headsets to interact within a digital world similar to a play.

On Monday Zuckerberg said in an earnings call, "Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that what we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company."

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