Auckland, California (AP) – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that his company is renaming itself Meta, trying to embrace its vision of virtual reality for the future – what 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.
What is the metaverse? Think of it as the Internet that has come to life, or at least reflected in 3D. Zuckerberg described it as a “virtual environment” that you can access, not just look at the screen. In essence, it’s a world of endless interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work, and play using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, or other devices.
According to Victoria Petrok, an analyst who monitors new technologies, it will also include other aspects of online life, such as shopping and social networking.
Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people over the next decade. It will be a place where people can interact, work and create products and content in a new ecosystem that 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 the company does. 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 Facebook app as well as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger remain in place; The corporate structure of the company will not change either. But from December 1, its shares will be traded under the new symbol “MVRS”.
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?
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.