The name change comes as the company battles criticisms from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, its algorithmic decisions and the policing of abuses on its platforms.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the company’s live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference, said the new name reflected its focus on building the metaverse.
“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” he said.
“We’ve learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we’ve learned and help build the next chapter,” Zuckerberg said.
Name of apps to remain same
The tech giant said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand. It said it would not change its corporate structure. The names of the apps that it builds — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — will remain the same.
The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley, refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices.
The company unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.
Skeptics pointed out that the name change appears to be an attempt to change the subject from the Facebook Papers, a leaked document trove that has revealed the ways Facebook ignored internal reports and warnings of the harms its social network created or magnified across the world.
Zuckerberg said he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade.
With inputs from agencies