Facebook's rebrand inspires Meta jokes


Meta, the umbrella company that includes WhatsApp and Instagram, is already being mocked online.


Facebook's rebrand meta lot of online mockery on Thursday.

The rebrand comes amid widespread public scrutiny after internal corporate documents revealed employee dissent over the platform's policies. It also signifies company's shift to a broader online presence beyond social media — Zuckerberg wants Facebook to pioneer what he calls the "next frontier" of the "metaverse," a shared virtual reality space accessible by the internet.


The social media site known as Facebook will continue operating under the name Facebook. Meta will be the corporate umbrella that controls Instagram and WhatsApp. Along with Messenger, Meta will control four of the most popular smartphone apps worldwide.


“You’re going to be able to do almost anything you can imagine,” Zuckerberg said during the announcement. “Teleporting around the metaverse is going to be like clicking a link on the web.”


Despite the endless possibilities promised in the metaverse, Facebook still isn’t safe from mockery in this reality.


Meta became the butt of Twitter jokes on Thursday, inspiring puns and drawing comparisons to infamous unsuccessful rebrands.


Facebook renames itself Meta


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is rebranding itself as Meta in an effort to encompass its virtual-reality vision for the future — what Zuckerberg calls the “ metaverse.”


Skeptics point out that it also appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, a leaked document trove so dubbed by a consortium of news organizations that include The Associated Press. Many of these documents, first described by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, have revealed how Facebook ignored or downplayed internal warnings of the negative and often harmful consequences its algorithms wreaked across the world.

“Facebook is the world’s social media platform and they are being accused of creating something that is harmful to people and society,” said marketing consultant Laura Ries. She compared the name Meta to when BP rebranded to “Beyond Petroleum” to escape criticism that it harmed the environment. “They can’t walk away from the social network with a new corporate name and talk of a future metaverse.”


Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to build ‘metaverse’ platform 

What is the metaverse? Think of it as the internet brought to life, or at least rendered in 3D. Zuckerberg has described it as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of — instead of just looking at on a screen. Essentially, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.


It also will incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media, according to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies.


Other tech companies such as Microsoft, chipmaker Nvidia and Fortnite maker Epic Games have all been outlining their own visions of how the metaverse will work.


“That’s cool,” said Richard Kerris, vice president of Nvidia’s Omniverse platform, after being told by a reporter of Facebook’s name change. “We think there’s going to be lots of companies building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, in the same way there’s being lots of companies doing things on the World Wide Web.”


Zuckerberg says he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade. It will be a place where people will be able to interact, work and create products and content in what he hopes will be a new ecosystem that creates millions of jobs for creators.


The announcement comes amid an existential crisis for Facebook. It faces heightened legislative and regulatory scrutiny in many parts of the world following revelations in the Facebook Papers.


Some of Facebook’s biggest critics seemed unimpressed. The Real Facebook Oversight Board, a watchdog group focused on the company, announced that it will keep its own name.


“Changing their name doesn’t change reality: Facebook is destroying our democracy and is the world’s leading peddler of disinformation and hate,” the group said in a statement. “Their meaningless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real, independent oversight needed to hold Facebook accountable.”


In explaining the rebrand, Zuckerberg said the name “Facebook” just doesn’t encompass everything the company does anymore. In addition to its primary social network, that now includes Instagram, Messenger, its Quest VR headset, its Horizon VR platform and more.


“Today we are seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”


Facebook unveils new Instagram controls for teens 


A corporate rebranding won’t solve the myriad problems at Facebook revealed by thousands of internal documents in recent weeks. It probably won’t even get people to stop calling the social media giant Facebook — or a “social media giant,” for that matter.


But that isn’t stopping Zuckerberg, seemingly eager to move on to his next big thing as crisis after crisis emerges at the company he created.


While largely dismissing revelations from the Facebook Papers as unfair criticism, Zuckerberg has focused on building a virtual environment you can go inside of instead of just looking at on a screen.


Just as smartphones replaced desktop computers, Zuckerberg is betting that the metaverse will be the next way people will interact with computers — and each other. If Instagram and messaging were Facebook’s forays into the mobile evolution, Meta is its bet on the metaverse. And what’s better than a name change to show how serious he is?


A metaverse-focused fund, the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, already started trading on the New York Stock Exchange using the ticker symbol META earlier this year, which may have forced Facebook to choose MVRS instead.


“I think my phone is melting,” its creator, metaverse enthusiast Matthew Ball, tweeted Thursday after Zuckerberg’s announcement. He said in an interview that he welcomed Facebook’s metaverse vision, noting the company was already one of the highest-rated stocks in his index.


“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said


Introducing Meta: A Social Technology Company


Today at Connect 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which brings together our apps and technologies under one new company brand. Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.


The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company. Mark shared more about this vision in a founder’s letter.


Our annual Connect conference brings together augmented and virtual reality developers, content creators, marketers and others to celebrate the industry’s momentum and growth. This year’s virtual event explored what experiences in the metaverse could feel like over the next decade — from social connection, to entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, education and commerce. We also announced new tools to help people build for the metaverse, including Presence Platform, which will enable new mixed reality experiences on Quest 2, and a $150-million investment in immersive learning to train the next generation of creators.


You can watch the full Connect keynote and learn more about how the metaverse will unlock new opportunities at meta.com. You can also learn more about our work over the past several months to develop the Meta brand on our design blog. Read all our news in the posts below:


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