Facebook is now known as Meta Platforms. But do not get confused. The company is not changing the name of its flagship social media platform. Instead, it is specifically changing its company name from “Facebook, Inc.” to “Meta Platforms, Inc.”
Explaining Why Facebook Changed its Company Name to Meta Platforms
Established in April 2004 as a Florida limited liability company or LLC and reorganized as a corporation in July of the same year until it eventually filed for an initial public offering in February 2012, Facebook announced in October 2021 that it would rename the company as Meta Platforms. Note that it is now doing business using the trade name Meta.
Highlighting the Focus on Building a Metaverse
But why exactly did the company change its name from Facebook to Meta Platforms? What are the reasons behind this decision? Of course, it is important to highlight the fact that the change in its company name marked an attempt to rebrand the company to reflect its ongoing focus on building a shared virtual reality called a metaverse and its numerous applications.
The term “metaverse” is a futuristic iteration of the internet that takes advantage of the benefits and applications of virtual reality and augmented reality. It is generally a fully immersive virtual environment and an online realm that share several similarities to the real world. Furthermore, it combines the aspects of social media and digital communications, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other online-enabled applications such as online gaming.
Mark Zuckerberg has an expressed interest and ongoing initiatives to build a metaverse. The official blog of the company explained that the concept will feel like a hybrid of the current online social experiences that can be expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. Furthermore, it will allow people to share more immersive experiences with other people and do things together they cannot do in the physical world.
Of course, the company is still in the process of deploying the true implementation of its concept. However, a number of technologies are already available to make it possible. It has also introduced new tools to help people build for the metaverse. Furthermore, the company is investing further in researching and developing relevant technologies.
A Note on Meta Platforms as a Holding Company
The transition from Facebook to Meta Platforms is also similar to the reason behind the introduction of Alphabet Inc. in 2015 as the holding company of Google LLC and other subsidiaries to include Calico Life Sciences, the private equity company CapitalG, Google Fiber, and the autonomous driving technology company Waymo LLC, among others.
Meta now represents and oversees all properties and brands previously placed under Facebook. These include the social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram, messaging services WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Watch, and Portal, as well as acquired companies such as the virtual reality technology company Oculus, the geotagged photo-sharing platform Mapillary, and the online short video search engine Giphy.
In the future, as the company diversifies to other businesses and into different sectors and industries, the rebranded company can also serve as a holding company for other corporations and limited liability companies. Doing so would limit liabilities and exposures to risks while streamlining management and maintaining ownership.
Focusing on Becoming a Social Technology Company
Zuckerberg explained during the 2021 Annual Connect Conference that the company name “Facebook” represented a brand that became firmly linked to a single product or service that it became impossible for it to sufficiently capture and epitomize what they have been doing at the present, as well as their envisioned future direction. The chief executive wanted a more accurate representation. He wanted to be recognized as a metaverse company.
Nevertheless, as headlined in its blog article, Meta Platforms is a social technology company. This pronouncement marked a bold move to steer away from being a mere social media company or a social media platform and toward a company that builds on the applications of social media while providing other services using related and relevant technologies.
It still describes itself as a company that “builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.” However, while it acknowledges how Facebook has changed the way people connect since it was introduced in 2004, it mentions that the company is moving beyond two-dimensional screens “toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
The metaverse can possibly become the future of the internet. The possibilities have raised excitement and reservations. The change in the company name also signifies an attempt to be recognized as a pioneer, as well as to own not only “metaverse” as a name and as a concept but also as an actual sociocultural phenomenon.
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