Facebook’s New Meta
by Noah Thompson
Just more than a week ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new parent company name for Facebook and their portfolio of services. The jump to Meta was a move to shift focus from the iconic Facebook name to a brand that represents their ambitions for the larger metaverse. On October 28th, in his Founder’s Letter, Zuckerberg shared, “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.”
Facebook, owning other popular social media apps such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and even Oculus VR, already has the largest influence on social networking and communication; it seems a name change would only add more confusion. However, when you consider Google and Snapchat, they too rebranded their parent companies with Alphabet in 2015, and Snap Inc. in 2016. These rebrands allowed Alphabet and Snap Inc. to focus on products other than just the Google search engine and Snapchat app. Spectacles were soon made available after the transition, for example, as well as the launch of the Google Pixel and other products.
Now that Facebook has rebranded itself, their new product, the Metaverse, will soon become a (virtual) reality. But what exactly is this Metaverse? From what we can gather, it will be a sort of hybrid between traditional social media and some three-dimensional experience, perhaps made possible by Facebook’s ownership of Oculus VR. This, sounding like pure science-fiction, could allow users to virtually attend events such as concerts, conferences, or other meetups in the form of a digital avatar or other kind of presence.
If they could successfully pull this off, it would completely change the digital realm of social media; but what happens to the preexisting Facebook and Instagram under the Meta-future? While Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is still years away, the Meta company will still host the platforms under the same names, however, each will individually contribute to the larger scale Metaverse in some way.
Whether this project is too futuristic for us now is hard to tell, as it could simply have been an idea pulled from old science-fiction material with intentions far more enthusiastic than practical. Check out the Neal Stephenson book, Snow Crash, published in 1992 to learn about the origins of the Metaverse, or come back later for more science fiction and its’ influence.
Facebook is changing its name to Meta as it focuses on the virtual world. (2021, October 28). The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/28/facebook-meta-name-change/
Founder’s letter, 2021. (2021, October 29). Meta. https://about.fb.com/news/2021/10/founders-letter/