OAKLAND, CA (AP) – Like many companies that have experienced problems before, Facebook is changing its name and logo.
Facebook Inc. now called Meta Platforms Inc., or Meta for short, to reflect what CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday, is its commitment to developing a new three-dimensional environment technology known as the meta-universe. But the social network itself will still be called Facebook.
Also unchanged, at least for now, are its executive and senior management, its corporate structure and the crisis that has gripped the company.
Skeptics immediately accused the company of trying to change the subject of Facebook papers, a leak of leaked documents that plunged it into its biggest crisis since its founding in a room at Zuckerberg’s Harvard dormitory 17 years ago. Documents show that Facebook puts profits ahead of ridding its platform of hatred, political strife and misinformation around the world.
The move was reminiscent of marketing consultant Lori Rice when energy company BP changed the brand to Beyond Petroleum to avoid criticism that the oil giant was harming the environment.
“Facebook is a global social network, and they are accused of creating something harmful to people and society,” she said. “They can’t leave the social network with a new corporate name and talk about the future metaworld.”
The Facebook application does not change its name. There is also no Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger. The corporate structure of the company will not change either. But on December 1, its shares will start trading under the new MVRS ticker symbol.
The metaverse is a kind of Internet, animated or at least reproduced in 3D. Zuckerberg described it as a “virtual environment” that you can access, not just look at the screen. 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’s foray into virtual reality has led to some comparisons to the space adventures of fellow tech billionaires and jokes that it may be clear that he would like to escape from current reality amid calls for his resignation and increasing control over the company.
On Monday, Zuckerberg announced a new segment for Facebook, which will begin reporting its financial results separately from the segment of the company’s family of applications, starting in the last quarter of this year. Reality Labs will reduce Facebook’s total operating profit by about $ 10 billion this year, the company said.
Other technology companies, such as Microsoft, chip maker Nvidia and maker Fortnite Epic Games, share their own visions of how the metaverse will work.
Zuckerberg said he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people over the next decade, and that he hopes the new technology will create millions of jobs for creators.
The announcement came amid increased legislative and regulatory scrutiny of Facebook in many parts of the world through Facebook documents. Corporate rebranding is unlikely to solve many of the problems identified in internal documents, or to allay the anxiety that critics have been raising for years about the damage the company’s products are doing to society.
Zuckerberg, for his part, has largely dismissed the furor caused by Facebook newspapers as unfair.
An interesting twist: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charity run by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, bought a Canadian scientific literature review company called Meta in 2017.
However, by Thursday evening, his website Meta.org announced that he would “come in” in late March. Meanwhile, the Meta.com domain was redirected to the former corporate website with rebranding.
At its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the thumb up sign, which has long stood on the street, has been repainted in a blue pretzel logo, reminiscent of an infinity symbol.
Some of Facebook’s biggest critics didn’t seem impressed with the name change. The supervisory board of Real Facebook, the company’s control group, has announced that it will keep its name.
“Changing the name does not change reality: Facebook is destroying our democracy and is the world’s leading disseminator of misinformation and hatred,” the group said in a statement. “Their senseless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real independent oversight needed to bring Facebook to justice.”
Explaining the rebranding, Zuckerberg said that the name Facebook no longer covers everything the company does. In addition to the 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.”
Associated Press writers May Anderson and Tally Arbel of New York and Matt O’Brien of Providence, RI, contributed to this report.
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