Facebook is rebranding its corporate name to Meta, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks to a future of social experiences, with plans to build inside the alternative cyberscape known as the “metaverse.”
“Starting today our company is now Meta,” Zuckerberg said at Connect, the VR developer conference, unveiling the widely anticipated new name. Critics have said the rebrand is a way to distance itself from the tarnished legacy of Facebook as a social network. Zuckerberg said during the announcement that Facebook “is an iconic social media brand but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything we do.”
Zuckerberg opened Connect by explaining why the company is discussing a theoretical virtual world that it hopes to build within the next 10 years, instead of real problems weighing on the current business. There are some people who would say, “this is not a time to focus on the future, there are important issues to focus on in the present,” Zuckerberg said during the presentation on Thursday. Yet, Zuckerberg was defiant, dismissing those critics who would have Facebook remain stagnant. “We live for what we build,” Zuckerberg said. “As long as I’m running this company, I will do my best to celebrate this spirit and absolutely go for it.”
But while Zuckerberg was showing off “social experiences” in Web 3.0, a concept defined by non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrency, blockchain, decentralized platforms, and virtual goods, noticeably absent was the reigning monarch of social media: Facebook itself. Facebook is instead leaning on new products like Horizon Worlds, Home and Workrooms, which are game-like platforms accessible through virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. There was also talk of holograms. Zuckerberg imagines the real world will blend seamlessly with the virtual through lifelike holograms that can teleport anywhere. “Imagine your best friend is at a concert somewhere across the world,” Zuckerberg said, while speaking alongside a projection of a live Jon Batiste performance. “What if you could be there with her.”
Zuckerberg further outlined the future of the company in the “metaverse,” which depends on connecting people even more closely online.