Barbara Ortutai | Associated Press
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is changing itself to Meta, trying to embrace its vision of virtual reality for the future, which Zuckerberg calls the “metauniverse.”
Skeptics point out that this also seems to be an attempt to change the subject of Facebook papers, the leak of documents, the so-called consortium of news organizations, which includes the Associated Press. Many of these documents, first described by Francis Haugen, a former Facebook employee who became an informant, showed how Facebook ignored or downplayed internal warnings about the negative and often harmful effects that its social networking algorithms had created or spread around the world.
Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people over the next decade. Metaverse, he said, will be a place where people can interact, work and create products and content in the new ecosystem, which he hopes will create “millions” of jobs for creators.
The announcement came amid an existential crisis for Facebook. He has faced increased legislative and regulatory scrutiny in many parts of the world since the revelations in Facebook Papers.
Explaining the rebranding, Zuckerberg said that the name “Facebook” no longer covers “everything we do.” In addition to its main social network, which now includes Instagram, Messenger, Quest VR headset, Horizon VR platform and more.
“Today we are perceived as a social networking company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA, we are a company that creates technology to bring people together.” The name of the social network Facebook will not change.
Metaverse, he said, is a new path. Zuckerberg, who is a fan of the classics, explained that the word “goal” comes from the Greek word “outside.”
Corporate rebranding will not solve many of the problems on Facebook, revealed by thousands of internal documents in recent weeks. It probably won’t even make people stop calling the social media giant Facebook – or the “social media giant”, for that matter.
But that doesn’t stop Zuckerberg, who seems eager to move on to the next big deal, as the company he’s created is in crisis after crisis.
For the most part, dismissing revelations from Facebook documents as unfair criticism, Zuckerberg focused on creating a virtual environment that could be accessed rather than just looking at the screen.
Just as smartphones have replaced desktops, Zuckerberg is betting that the metauniverse will be the next way people interact with computers – and with each other. If Instagram and messaging were Facebook’s forays into the evolution of mobile devices, Meta is its bet on the metaverse. And what could be better than a name change to show how serious it is?