Facebook has changed its name to Meta.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during the company’s Facebook Connect event focused on virtual reality on Thursday (Oct 28). Meta will be the corporate name of the company and Facebook’s name and branding will continue for the social network and its mobile app. Branding for Instagram and WhatsApp will stay the same as well.
Meta is a reference to the metaverse, the virtual reality universe that Zuckerberg and many in the tech industry see as the future of communication and entertainment. Zuckerberg has made it clear that the metaverse is the future of the company, and it is focused on developing both software and hardware to build out its own version of the metaverse over the coming years. The company says it will hire 10,000 workers in the European Union to help develop the metaverse over the next five years.
The move comes as Facebook continues to deal with an onslaught of criticism following whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who leaked over 10,000 documents on the company to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — as well as the press — detailing how Facebook has responded to internal data that shows the service is harmful to teenagers, how it deals with misinformation, and shows the company has put its own bottom-line ahead of protecting democracy around the world.
The move also parallels the changes that Google made in 2015 when it changed its corporate name to Alphabet and made Google a subsidiary of the larger organization alongside its autonomous car company Waymo and artificial intelligence arm DeepMind.