Remember Second Life? Facebook didn’t buy it, but now the social networking behemoth wants to become it. This is not a joke. Facebook has changed its company name to Meta. The word ‘Facebook’ now refers to just the social networking application and site. Meta was chosen as the new name because it points to Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to creating immersive virtual experiences or a so-called ‘metaverse’.
The company will trade under the new stock ticker MVRS starting Dec. 1.
Reuters notes that the change is also a timely move to help the company deflect criticism (and possibly avoid federal regulation):
Facebook’s rebrand has a touch of Altria, the owner of Marlboro cigarettes. That company changed its name from Philip Morris in 2003, in part to get away from the association with cigarettes. Nearly two decades later, it still gets most of its revenue and profit from smokes. Sometimes a name is just a name.
Zuck says the rebrand has nothing to do with the political quagmire or the avalanche of bad press his company is facing. It’s just something he’s been working on with a small team sworn to secrecy.
Are We Now Fleeing A Crumbling Real World?
Meta plans to spend billions of dollars developing the metaverse and Zuck hopes to have one billion people join his new virtual world over the next ten years.
The Verge kindly reminds us that the idea of a metaverse isn’t new. The concept originates from Snow Crash, a dystopian novel by Neal Stephenson in which people flee the crumbling real world to be fully immersed in a virtual one. The Verge also has a revealing interview with Zuckerberg. Here’s a small part of what he says in the interview:
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. So from a functional perspective, I thought it was very important to have that.
That’s odd. Do you want a relationship with a company that is different from the relationship you have with its products? Do you know anyone who does?
Here’s an easier question. Would you prefer to spend your time online in a virtual environment, where you can be freed from life’s harsher realities and just float through various digital dream states where you and no one you know is overweight, stressed out, moneyless, homeless, or politically or socially deranged?
New ‘Faces’ In The ‘Book
The company’s new “Meta” logo includes what appears to be a new variant of the infinity symbol. It also looks like a pair of goggles, and goggles make sense given that VR headsets help you immerse in games and other metaverse locations.
Is Meta ready to help people see something new and valuable through its goggles? Or is this move the new narcissism where reflections of self are distorted beyond recognition for pleasure and profit?
The last time the company changed its name was 2005 when it changed from TheFacebook to Facebook.