By John Ikani
Facebook has changed its name to Meta in a major rebrand.
The company said the new name would better “encompass” what it does now, a reference to its plans to invest in virtual reality.
The firm has made clear that its future goal is to create an online world, called Metaverse, where people can work, game and communicate in a virtual environment, using VR headsets.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will keep their names under the rebranding.
“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 said during an annual developers conference.
“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing,” he added.
The move follows a series of negative stories about Facebook, based on documents leaked by an ex-employee, Frances Haugen.
Haugen accused the company of putting “profits over safety”.
Facebook has been hit by major crises previously, but the current view behind the curtain of the insular company has fueled a frenzy of scathing reports and scrutiny from US regulators.
“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,” Zuckerberg said in an earnings call on Monday.
Facebook critics pounced last week on a report that leaked the rebranding plans, arguing that the company was aiming to distract from recent scandals and controversy
An activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board, has warned that major industries like oil and tobacco had rebranded to “deflect attention” from their problems.
“Facebook thinks that a rebrand can help them change the subject,” the group said last week, adding that the “real issue” was the need for oversight and regulation.
In 2015, Google restructured its company calling its parent firm Alphabet, however, the name has not caught on.
The online search and ad powerhouse remains Google’s defining unit despite other operations such as Waymo self-driving cars and Verily life sciences..