Last week there was surprising news from the tech company running the foremost social media network of the world. Facebook Inc., which runs Facebook along with Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more, was changing its name. The idea of doing so, according to FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to shift the public focus of the company from social media to its new direction, to pioneer in the development of a new online internet environment. While the same social media community FB reigns over made some hilariously pointed suggestions, the fact that Facebook Inc. is promoting its work on the “meta-verse” meant only one possible name-change.

The Verge tells us that as of this past Thursday, October 28, Facebook Inc. is now going by the name of Meta Platforms Inc., or just Meta for short. Meta is now the umbrella under which the social media website/app services of Facebook, Instagram et cetera are now grouped under, along with other divisions busy embodying the multinational tech giant’s new development focus. As Mark Zuckerberg puts it in his announcement, the now-Meta is pushing forward with new connective online technology, part of the groundwork needed to get the proposed meta-verse experience off the ground.

“We are a company that builds technology to connect,” says Zuckerberg. “Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy.” The discarding of Facebook as the entire company’s name (relegating it solely to the social network) indicates that Meta has grown more and beyond mere social media, and that hopefully people will see them more as a “meta-verse” company, one of many moving to evolve the internet from mere computer displays to augmented reality and virtual spacing. No massive reorganization of the company follows the name-change, beyond Oculus rebranding as Meta Quest.

The adoption of a new name for Facebook Inc. might cynically also be seen as an attempt to navigate a series of controversies leveled against the company. Scrutiny will continue to fall on Facebook, but only as the network of the same name and not of Meta Inc., its parent company. Comparisons have also been made to Google, which in 2015 rebranded and made the search engine division just one arm of a larger parent company called Alphabet. The Meta refresh might also alleviate demographic changes in the FB user base, considering there are even fewer teens and young adults still using the networking platform.

Image courtesy of AP News