Facebook has revealed a new company name and brand, Meta.
The move is designed to represent the firm’s broadening business portfolio beyond social networking, particularly as it pushes on with plans to develop the so-called metaverse, an online world where people can meet, play and work virtually, often using VR headsets.
But it also comes amid a string of controversies that have followed the company’s various ventures, particularly the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp.
While the wider company name is being rebranded to Meta, the core Facebook service will remain unchanged.
This is similar to how Google created a new parent company name, Alphabet, in 2015 to represent its shift beyond simply being a search engine.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the current 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”.
“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” he said in a virtual conference.
“We just announced that we were making a fundamental change to our company. We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for our family of apps, and one for our work on future platforms.
“And as part of this, it is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do to reflect who we are and what we hope to build.
“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta.”
As part of the plan, the Oculus brand, used for the company’s virtual reality products, will be retired from next year.
Incoming chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth, who currently heads up AR and VR for the firm, said that starting in early 2022, Oculus Quest from Facebook will be changed to Meta Quest, while the Oculus App will become the Meta Quest App.