Why Facebook is now called Meta

Story by CBC Kids News • 2021-11-03 06:00

Apps like Facebook and Instagram aren’t changing


New name, who dis?

On Oct. 28, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company known as Facebook would be changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc., or Meta for short.

Now, before you go off thinking Facebook is no more, let us explain.

Facebook is best known for being a popular social media destination.

But Facebook is also the name of the larger company that includes the site Facebook and apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR and more.

Now it’s changed its company name from Facebook to Meta.

So Facebook the website and app are still a thing, but Facebook the company? It’s no more.

Why did this all happen?

On Oct. 28, CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at a livestreamed virtual and augmented reality conference, letting users and stakeholders in the company know that a change was coming.

The new name, Meta, was chosen because of the work his company will be doing to create and support the metaverse.

The what? Well, the metaverse is basically a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate virtually.

And as the biggest social media company in the world, Facebook — or should we say Meta —  is trying to set the stage for what's to come.

On the new Meta website, they mention how the metaverse is the ‘next evolution of social connection.’ Reports suggest that Meta is planning on hiring more than 10,000 new employees in the U.K. to build the metaverse. (Image credit: Meta)

“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,” said Zuckerberg.

What exactly is the metaverse?

According to Meta’s messaging about the metaverse, the metaverse is where you can virtually meet, work and play using a VR headset, glasses or your device.

Think of it kind of like a real-life video game.

Zuckerberg showed off some potential images of what the new virtual reality might look like and called the metaverse a “virtual environment.”


Meta CEO Zuckerberg pictured with his personal avatar in the metaverse. (Image credit: Meta)

Although there is currently lots of speculation (or guessing) about what the metaverse will look and feel like, tech experts like Victoria Petrock (told Reuters) that the metaverse might include online shopping and social media interactions, too.

“It’s the next evolution of connectivity where all of those things start to come together in a seamless, doppelgӓnger universe,” she said, “so you’re living your virtual life the same way you’re living your physical life.”

How did the internet respond?

In typical internet fashion, there were curious chatters, haters and memers … all replying to Facebook’s Meta-morphosis.

Some took the cheesy route:

Others were quick to point out that this new publicity for the company comes at a convenient time — when it's the subject of intense judgment and public debate over privacy laws, data breaches and concerns around kids on social media.

What’s next?

Meta doesn’t own rights to the metaverse, so look for other tech companies like Microsoft and Fortnite game-maker Epic Games to come out with their visions for the metaverse soon.

As for Zuckerberg and Meta, he said he expects the metaverse to reach a billion users within the next decade.

But some of Facebook’s biggest critics don’t think that a name change will wipe the public’s opinion of the company and its actions.

Outside of the old Facebook headquarters in California, U.S., the new name and logo were revealed. (Image credit: Tony Avelar/The Associated Press)

According to The Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group that’s focused on holding the company accountable, “changing their name doesn’t change reality ... their meaningless name change should not distract from the investigation, regulation and real, independent oversight needed to hold Facebook accountable.”

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what impact a name change might have on the future of the company — both in the metaverse and the real world, too.

Have more questions? We'll do our best to look into it for you. Ask for permission from your parent or guardian and email us at cbckidsnews@cbc.ca.

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Eric Risberg/The Associated Press

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