Meta - meaning explained
Meta - meaning explained

What is Meta?

Meta is the new name for Mark Zuckerberg’s business empire.

Facebook is rebranding as Meta — but the app you use will still be called Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg said he had been thinking about rebranding the company ever since he bought Instagram and WhatsApp, in 2012 and 2014, but earlier this year he realized that it was time to make the change.

The company, which administers several highly popular social media platforms, including its namesake, WhatsApp and Instagram, is refresh.

The company debuted as "The Facebook", and Mr Zuckerberg changed the name to its now previous configuration in 2005.

Facebook will also change its stock ticker from ‘FB’ to ‘MVRS’ on December 1st.

What is a Metaverse?

Facebook believes that in the future, we'll meet up with friends in the "metaverse."

Zuckerberg has been pouring billions of dollars into building the metaverse, an expansive, immersive vision of the internet taken from the pages of sci-fi novels like Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

The metaverse as an idea isn’t new, but it wasn’t thrust into the mainstream conversation until Zuckerberg started talking about it publicly earlier this year. The concept originates from Snow Crash, a dystopian novel from the 1990s in which people flee the crumbling real world to be fully immersed in a virtual one.

A metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment.

The term refers to a cyberspace parallel to physical reality where a community of people can interact in the form of avatars.

This is possible through the merging of physical, augmented, and virtual reality.

This world already exists today through Meta-owned brand Oculus, which will itself be re-branded to Meta Quest in 2022, as well as Meta’s collaboration with glasses manufacturer Ray-Ban that allows users to see social media notifications via their glasses or sunglasses.

Meta Company note: 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.

“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.” - Facebook Explained.

Why has Facebook changed its name?

Facebook Meta: The CEO announced the news via a Facebook conference (Image: GETTY)
Facebook Meta: The CEO announced the news via a Facebook conference (Image: GETTY)

According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is changing its name to reflect its growing social media empire.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday, in an apparent effort to recast the company's public image from battered social network to tech innovator focused on building the next generation of online interaction, known as the "metaverse."

"It is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do," he said. "From now on, we're going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first." Zuckerberg said it's time to overhaul the corporation's identity to reflect its broader ambitions.

The other key announcement Mr Zuckerberg made was about Meta’s ‘North Star’ - business jargon for what a company’s purpose is. He said Meta was “going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first”. Essentially, it means Facebook will no longer be the company’s main focus.

Among reasons behind the name change is Mr Zuckerberg's love of classics, he mentioned.

Speaking at the conference, he said the Greek word - which means "beyond" - "symbolizes that there is always more to build".

What does Facebook’s new name name mean?

Mark Zuckerberg said in his presentation that he had chosen the name Meta in part because it “reflects the full breadth of what we do and the future we want to help build”.

But he also said he had chosen it as in Greek it means ‘beyond’.

“For me, it symbolises that there’s always more to build; there’s always a next chapter to the story,” he explained.

“For us it’s a story that started in the dorm room and grew beyond anything we could imagine into a family of apps that people use to find one another, to find their voice, to start businesses and communities and movements that have changed the world.

“I’m proud of what we’ve built so far and excited about what comes next as we move beyond what’s possible today.

“Beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities and experience new things.”

He told me in an interview that, unlike the founders of Google who stepped aside in 2015 when it became part of a holding company called Alphabet, he has no plans to give up the top job.

Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.
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