Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that the company will change its name to Meta.
Zuckerberg said the rebrand would reflect that the company is larger than the social media platform, which will still be named Facebook. The company also owns other platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram.
The rebrand is also the culmination of growing discourse from within the company on the “metaverse,” in other words, bringing the digital world and the real-world closer together using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
The founder said he hoped the “Metaverse” would create a new ecosystem to connect and create, and would represent the “next chapter of social connection.”
The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. It's a collective project that will be created by people all over the world, and open to everyone. You’ll be able to socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what’s possible today. pic.twitter.com/655yFRm8yZ
— Meta (@Meta) October 28, 2021
According to The Conversation, looking at Facebook’s existing approach to social connection – monitoring our online presence based on data collection – gives a hint of its ambitions for the “Metaverse.”
Metaverse technologies – VR and AR – collect huge amounts of user data. This is one of the key ethical concerns surrounding these technologies, and is presumed to be Facebook’s main attraction to developing them.
Read more via The Conversation.
Rebrand prompts backlash
The rebrand comes as the company has come under increasing pressure to clamp down on hate speech and misinformation, especially after Facebook employee-turned-Whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony that the company puts “profit before people.”
But the rebrand has come under criticism from a host of public figures.
Satirical news programme mocked the rebrand by editing the Zuckerberg’s Meta launch video and superimposing the billionaire onto videos of the Capitol riots, which was organised across Facebook.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned the platform as a “cancer to democracy,” while Adam Garcia mocked the rebrand in a satirical tweet using a slogan from Mean Girls.
stop trying to make meta happen pic.twitter.com/L3ZSckEAl0
— Adam Lance Garcia (@AdamLanceGarcia) October 28, 2021
Read more via The Guardian.
Other social media giants distance themselves from Facebook
TikTok, YouTube and SnapChat have also tried to distance themselves from Facebook in a congressional hearing that took place last week.
A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee grilled Executives representing the tech giants on their own policies in place to keep young people safe from toxic content online.
Alongside their own defences, the companies all insisted they were “different” from Facebook.
Still, the companies failed to provide definitive answers on what they were implementing to support the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, a bill which was to improve online privacy protections for children and young people.
Read more via NBC
Zuckerberg accuses tech firms of ‘stifling innovation’
While his company comes under increased pressure and condemnation, Zuckerberg has also accused other tech firms of “stifling innovation” with high fees and little consumer choice.
The comments were made during a live stream last Thursday, and are perceived to be targeted at mobile operating services, such as Google and Apple.
The Facebook Connect event which Zuckerberg spoke at was also used to announce the rebrand. According to CNBC, the comments reflect the company’s continuous efforts to set itself apart from peers in big tech.
Read more via CNBC.