Mark Zuckerberg Explains Facebook Meta Name Change

Facebook surprised the world late on Thursday night, when it confirmed earlier reports that it was to undertake a major rebranding exercise.

The social networking giant announced that it was changing its corporate holding company name from Facebook to ‘Meta’.

The rebrand positions the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent holding company (Meta), which oversees divisions such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, etc.

Facebook becomes Meta

Founder letter

This is a similar structure that Google employed back in 2015, when Google became a separated unit under the holding company called Alphabet.

And co-founder of Facebook/Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, has penned a lengthy blog post explaining his thoughts for the major shakeup of his corporate juggernaut.

He began by stating that the world is at “the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too.”

Zuckerberg is keen to move beyond social networking and expand his futuristic ‘metaverse’ vision that he had revealed back in July, which will create immersive experiences that connect to work, games and real-world events.

And in sign of how serious he is about augmented reality, Facebook last week said it would create 10,000 new jobs across the European Union in order to expand the metaverse vision.

Metaverse vision

Then on Thursday night Zuckerberg said that in recent decades technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally.

“When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites,” he wrote. “When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.”

“The next platform will be even more immersive – an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it,” wrote Zuckerberg. “We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.”

“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence – like you are right there with another person or in another place,” he added. “Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.”

“The metaverse will not be created by one company,” he wrote. “It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.”

Zuckerberg said that Meta’s role in this journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through its social media apps.

“As I wrote in our original founder’s letter: “we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services,” he said.

Facebook woes

And then Zuckerberg touched upon the also constant stream of scandals that have engulfed Facebook in recent years.

“The last five years have been humbling for me and our company in many ways,” he said. “One of the main lessons I’ve learned is that building products people love isn’t enough.”

“I’ve gained more appreciation that the internet’s story isn’t straightforward,” he said. “Privacy and safety need to be built into the metaverse from day one. So do open standards and interoperability.”

“This period has also been humbling because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it’s like to build on other platforms,” he added. “Living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry. I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice for consumers and high fees for developers are stifling innovation and holding back the internet economy.”

“We’ve tried to take a different approach,” he said. “We want our services to be accessible to as many people as possible, which means working to make them cost less, not more.”

“That’s the approach we want to bring to helping to build the metaverse,” he stated. “We plan to sell our devices at cost or subsidized to make them available to more people. We’ll continue supporting side-loading and streaming from PCs so people have choice, rather than forcing them to use the Quest Store to find apps or reach customers. And we’ll aim to offer developer and creator services with low fees…”

Zuckerberg said that he hopes that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.

Name change reason

And then Zuckerberg opened up about the reasons to rebrand under the name ‘Meta.’

“Today we’re seen as a social media company,” he wrote. “Building social apps will always be important for us, and there’s a lot more to build. But increasingly, it’s not all we do. In our DNA, we build technology to bring people together. The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started.”

“Right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” he said. “Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.”

“We just announced that we’re making a fundamental change to our company,” he said. “We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments: one for our family of apps and one for our work on future platforms. The metaverse encompasses both the social experiences and future technology. As we broaden our vision, it’s time for us to adopt a new brand.”

“Our mission remains the same – it’s still about bringing people together,” he stated. “Our apps and their brands aren’t changing either. We’re still the company that designs technology around people.”

“But all of our products, including our apps, now share a new vision: to help bring the metaverse to life,” he added. “And now we have a name that reflects the breadth of what we do.”

“From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” he concluded. “That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services. As our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope people around the world come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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