Facebook Changes Company Name To 'Meta' As Part Of 'Metaverse' Vision

For about as long as it's existed, the public has had a complicated relationship with Facebook.

Because even when people were signing up for accounts in droves, the social media brand was dogged by privacy and user information concerns. And while Facebook has announced steps to curtail the spread of misinformation on its platform in recent years, concerns of the company's role in that problem's development remain a part of its public perception.

But in the time since it began, Facebook has also become a larger brand due to the acquisition of other apps and technological firms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and the VR tech developer Oculus.

In the wake of these developments for the company, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced that his company's name is about to change.

At the company's virtual Facebook Connect conference on October 28, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his flagship company will now be known as Meta.

According to CNN Business, this won't spell the end of the Facebook platform, but will de-emphasize it as just another app existing under the new Meta umbrella like Instagram or WhatsApp.

For Zuckerberg, both this name and the rebrand itself are parts of his vision to expand the company and its public perception beyond the world of social media.

As he put it, "Today we're seen as a social media company but in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people."

And much like the conference in which this rebrand was announced, this vision for Meta involves bolstering their established social media infrastructure with augmented reality (think Pokémon GO) and virtual reality technology.

When describing this hybridization of real and virtual spaces, Zuckerberg refers to his company's goal as "building the metaverse."

According to The Verge, this term refers to a set of different but interconnected virtual spaces that incorporate virtual marketplaces, 3D rendered worlds, and other spaces that can connect to our physical world through augmented reality technology.

For their part, representatives from Meta defined a metaverse as, "A set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you."

As for what this goal of building a metaverse will mean for users, Meta is working towards the creation of systems that allow them to talk, play, work, and shop in different ways than before.

As CNN Business reported, this would allow users to send a holographic image of themselves to a concert that a friend is actually attending and experience it as if they're present as well.

It would also see the virtual meetings we've become accustomed to take place in rendered meeting rooms like a more immersive version of Second Life. That blending of augmented reality and virtual reality is also intended to make online gaming more immersive and social as well.

It's a hard concept to envision now, but one that Zuckerberg expects to become mainstream in five to 10 years.

In his words, "Your devices won't be the focal point of your attention anymore."

h/t: CNN Business, The Verge