Facebook changes name to Meta
But critics say rebrand doesn’t alter reality
Social media giant Facebook announced on Thursday that it had changed its corporate name to 'Meta' in a major rebranding exercise. The name change applies only to the parent company and not individual platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Explaining the need for the change, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "Today we are seen as a social media company. But in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people."
Zuckerberg declared "Metaverse" is the new way, adding that the word 'meta' came from the Greek word for beyond.
At a developer's conference, Zuckerberg said, "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 explained the new name symbolised the company's desire to go beyond text- and video-based communication towards virtual reality-based technology.
Giving examples of how VR technology would be used, Zuckerberg "you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You'll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint."
Despite the grand plan, critics of the social media network are not impressed. Some saw the rebranding to Meta as an attempt to distract from recent media coverage of the 'Facebook Papers', a trove of leaked documents that detail alleged malpractices at the company.
Marketing consultant Laura Ries told Associated Press that she thought the exercise was similar to BP rebranding itself 'Beyond Petroleum' to escape criticism that the energy giant was causing environmental damage. "They can't walk away from the social network with a new corporate name and talk of a future metaverse," Ries told Associated Press.
The Real Facebook Oversight Board, a watchdog group focused on the company, said the name change won't change reality. In a statement it said, "Facebook is destroying our democracy and is the world's leading peddler of disinformation and hate. Their meaningless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real, independent oversight needed to hold Facebook accountable."