Facebook Embraces New Name

What is ‘Meta’ Anyway?

Florian Zeller, Staff Editor

“Instagram from Facebook”, “WhatsApp from Facebook” and “Oculus from Facebook”, makes sense. But also “Facebook from Facebook”? This weird naming scheme has changed now. On Thursday, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg announced at the company’s connected event, that the Facebook company was going to be called ‘Meta’ from now on. 

 But don’t worry, you will still be able to find the Facebook app on your smartphone, as the name change only applies to the Facebook app’s parent company, formally known as the ‘Facebook company,’ now known as Meta.  Meta is no stranger to the online scene, as it is also the owner of various other social media apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. 

Zuckerberg said, while speaking to The Verge’s Alex Heath, that the new name would better reflect the company’s new focus: building a Metaverse! The Metaverse is the science fiction dream, of building a virtual world that humans can live in, come true. Meta is trying to build virtual spaces where people can gather to socialize, play, and work with each other using digital avatars. Either in Virtual Reality (VR) or in Augmented Reality (AR). This will essentially create Facebook’s own virtual world.  

It has to be mentioned though that Facebook is not at all close to achieving this ultimate goal. Their virtual avatars, for example are low quality at best and still do not have legs. 

This new name might also be a way for Meta to get rid of Facebook’s objectively bad reputation. The social media app is facing increasing scrutiny from regulators around the world. There is talk of a new whistle blower report that shows that the company put financial profit over its young users’ wellbeing. 

However, whether Facebook’s Meta finds a new balance in the virtual world remains to be seen.  After all the scrutiny Zuckerberg has faced in the past with privacy violations, the public is skeptical.  Meta’s goal is to create a virtual platform and better connect with others in an exclusive virtual world—let’s hope this time it’s done by respecting established regulations.


Meta's concept of the metaverse
Meta’s concept of the metaverse that the company showed off during its presentation (Source: Meta Platforms Inc.)
The current reality of the metaverse: An online meeting in Meta’s ‘Horizon workrooms’ software. (Source: https://about.fb.com/news/2021/08/introducing-horizon-workrooms-remote-collaboration-reimagined/)