Facebook’s new corporate name is Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday, in an apparent effort to recast the company’s public image from battered social network to tech innovator focused on building the next generation of online interaction known as the “metaverse.”
“It is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do,” Zuckerberg said at the company’s Connect virtual reality conference. “From now on we’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first.”
Seventeen years after Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, the company’s brand has been badly dented by a succession of crises, from Russian interference in the 2016 election to the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, which became public in 2018, to the last month’s damaging revelations from former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen.
But even as Facebook has been pummeled by a wave of critical news coverage about its platforms’ harms based on Haugen’s trove of internal documents, Zuckerberg has unapologetically kept his focus on what he sees as the company’s future. He said the metaverse is the next big computing platform to which people’s attention, and dollars, will shift in the coming years. And he wants the newly christened Meta to play a prime role in creating it, and turning it into big business.