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Facebook’s rebrand as Meta and how it is committed to building social technologies

Facebook has changed its corporate name to Meta at a time when the social networking giant is going through a huge PR crisis. The parent company's name has been changed as part of broadening its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality (VR), announced CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday. 

During Facebook’s annual Connect Conference, Zuckerberg shared his vision for the metaverse and how the company will take part in building this future. The metaverse will be a social, 3D virtual space where users can share immersive experiences with other people, even when they can’t be together in person – and do things together that they couldn’t do in the physical world.

On the need for the rebrand, Zuckerberg said, “Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we are doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we're building toward.”

He further added, “I’m proud of what we have built so far, and I’m excited about what comes next – as we move beyond what’s possible today, beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics, and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities and experience new things. It is a future that is beyond any one company and that will be made by all of us.”

What won't change under the Meta brand is the original mission of bringing people together, the apps and their brands. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram will continue to keep their respective names. Facebook has also announced its intent to hire 10,000 people in the European Union for building the metaverse.

"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," Zuckerberg maintained at an annual conference for developers.

Facebook has of late been under immense pressure following the damning revelations made by whistle-blower Frances Haugen, an ex-data scientist with the company. Activists have since then renewed their clamour for stricter regulations and control over the social networking site. The rebranding exercise, according to critics, are part of its attempt to deflect attention from the ongoing scandals.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board, an activist group, has argued that rebranding exercise was a tool employed by industries like tobacco and oil in the past to deflect attention whenever they were faced with problems.

Zuckerberg, however, has termed the ongoing issues as part of a coordinated effort. "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," he said.

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