Instead of a social media platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal for Facebook is for it to now become a "metaverse company," an idea for a world that blurs the lines between the digital and the physical.
Both Zuckerberg and Facebook are under more scrutiny than ever before due to the company's spread of misinformation and hate speech, as well as its potential to harm teenagers and children. The CEO revealed the new name at Facebook’s annual AR/VR conference on Thursday, outlining the company’s virtual reality vision for the future.
“We believe the metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg said. “We will be able to feel present. Like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.”
After former employee Frances Haugen leaked internal documents known as the “Facebook Papers” to the press and testified before Congress, the rebranding appears to be a welcome distraction for the company. She claimed that Facebook puts profits ahead of people's safety, and many of the leaked documents appear to support her claim.
Similar to Google's rebranding as Alphabet six years ago, it has formed a new company that includes all of its existing brands: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.
According to Anne Olderog, senior partner at Vivaldi with 20 years of brand strategy experience, Facebook must do the fundamental work and address the platforms problems. If not, the same issue may infiltrate the metaverse. She said that especially after past missteps the company has weathered before, the public “Can definitely see through things like that.”
The most significant issue that Facebook is currently facing is a lack of consumer trust that it can serve a greater purpose. The launch of a new brand may reinforce consumers fears that Facebook is only concerned with itself.
Take a look at some of the best Twitter reactions to Facebook's name change: