Facebook, WhatsApp, Insta's Parent Firm Rebrands as 'Meta'
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his company would get a new name, Meta. Zuckerberg has downplayed this rebranding, and this is the first in Facebook's 17 years of existence, and is to divert a barrage of bad PR.
"We are a company that builds technology to connect," Zuckerberg said. "Together, we can finally put people at the centre of our technology to reflect who we are and what we hope to build." The name "Facebook" doesn't fully encompass everything the company does now, and is still closely linked to one product, he added. "But over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company."
"The names of the apps that we build -- Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp - will remain the same," the company's verified handle, @facebook, tweeted.
The Verge argued that a rebrand is part of Zuckerberg's efforts to shift gears away from Facebook being known as just a social media company into plans for building the metaverse.
Zuckerberg wrote a blog on Thursday that the company's corporate structure would not be changing, but how it reports financial results will.
"Starting with our results for the fourth quarter of 2021, we plan to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs," he said. On Monday, multiple news outlets published details of internal Facebook documents disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form.
They showed deep concerns that the Facebook user base was aging, and the platform was losing traction among younger generations.
The documents also showed that Facebook had prioritised key countries who would receive enhanced protections around elections.
To Zuckerberg's baiters, Meta was a copycat of Google's playbook when, in 2015, a larger holding company called Alphabet came into being.
In his first interview as CEO of Meta, Zuckerberg made it clear that unlike the founders of Google who stepped aside coinciding with the birth of Alphabet, he has no plans to give up the top job.
Zuckerberg has been pouring billions of dollars -- $10 billion this year alone, into building the metaverse -- an expansive, immersive vision of the internet taken from the pages of sci-fi novels like Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
"I think we're basically moving from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first," he told interviewer Alex Heath in an interview recorded a day before the actual announcement.
"He said he had been thinking about rebranding the company ever since he bought Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, but earlier this year he realized that it was time to make the change," Heath reported.
"I think that there was just a lot of confusion and awkwardness about having the company brand be also the brand of one of the social media apps," Zuckerberg said.
"I think it's helpful for people to have a relationship with a company that is different from the relationship with any specific one of the products that can kind of supersede all of that."
"At a high level, we did this segment reporting change on Monday as part of earnings. So we're now looking at our business as two different segments. One for the social apps and one for future platforms basically. And the idea is that the metaverse work that we're doing is not about any one of those segments. It's not like Reality Labs is doing the work building the metaverse. It goes across all of this. The metaverse is going to be both future platforms and social experiences," he said.
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