Meta: Facebook announces new company name

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the company will be known as Meta going forward.

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“It is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do,” Zuckerberg said during a keynote speech as the Facebook Connect conference. “To reflect who we are and what we hope to build, I am proud to announce that starting today our company is now Meta.”

The Facebook founder added that the company’s apps and brands would remain the same.

The announcement came Zuckerberg’s speech at the event formerly known as Oculus Connect. During the one-day virtual conference, company officials typically announce updates and provide demonstrations of its augmented reality and virtual reality technologies and research.

“I believe the metaverse is the next chapter of the internet, and it’s the next chapter of our company too,” Zuckerberg said. “Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier -- just like social media was when we started.”

Facebook’s planned name change was first reported last week by The Verge. Citing an unidentified source, the technology news site reported that Facebook aimed to highlight its focus on “building the metaverse.” The company defines the metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”

“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet. We’ll be able to feel present no matter how far apart we actually are,” Zuckerberg said. “When I send my parents a video of my kids, they’re going to feel like they’re right in the moment with us, not peering in a little window.”

During his speech, Zuckerberg highlighted several technologies and products being developed or researched by the company, including Project Cambria, an advanced, high-end Oculus VR headset in development.

Last month, company officials noted that building out the metaverse will take years.

“The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone,” officials said while announcing a two-year, $50 million investment in programs and research to build metaverse technologies. “Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years.”

The name change was announced days after reporters published the Facebook Papers, a trove of internal company documents which alleged that Facebook prioritized its profits over the safety of its users, according to The Associated Press. The documents were provided to members of Congress as part of its investigation into the social media giant.

Check back for updates to this developing story.