In the midst of the crisis, Facebook changed its name to Meta

Social media company Facebook is now struggling to change its company name to Meta Platforms Inc – or “Meta” for short – to reflect what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has to say about his commitment to developing around-yourself-technology known as “ metaverse.” But the social media network itself will still be called Facebook.

Those skeptical of the name change were quick to accuse the company of trying to change the subject of the Facebook Papers, a collection of leaked documents that has plunged the company into its biggest crisis since it was founded in Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard 17 years ago.

The documents describe Facebook as a company that prioritizes profit over purging the platform of hatred, political strife and disinformation around the world.

To the news agency Associated Press, marketing consultant Laura Ries likened Facebook’s move to change its name to that of British Petroleum, which rebranded itself as “Beyond Petroleum” to avoid criticism that the company had a major environmental impact.

“Facebook is the world’s social media platform and they have been accused of creating something that harms people and society,” Ries said. He underlined that “they ( cannot leave the (image of) the social network with a new company name and (directly) talk about the metaverse (for) the future.”

A photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is attached to a graphic showing the Facebook Papers, the company's documents revealing the social media company's bad actions.  (Photo: AP)

A photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is attached to a graphic showing the Facebook Papers, the company’s documents revealing the social media company’s bad actions. (Photo: AP)

The Facebook app, where users post personal information updates and show likes, did not change its name. Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger also still use the same name. The company structure will not change either. However on December 1st, the shares will start trading under the new symbol MVRS, which stands for Metaverse.

Metaverse is a three-dimensional (3D) world that can be enjoyed by internet users. Zuckerberg describes it as a “virtual environment” where users can enter, rather than just looking at the screen. People can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps and other devices.

According to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows new technology developments, Meta will also incorporate other aspects of life in cyberspace, such as shopping and social media.

Other tech companies, such as Microsoft, chipmaker Nvidia and Fortnite maker Epic Games have all outlined their own visions of how the metaverse will work.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to his avatar on "Metaverse" at the social media company's virtual name change event on October 28, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Handout via Reuters)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to his avatar on the “Metaverse” during the social media company’s virtual name change event on Oct. 28, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Handout via Reuters)

Zuckerberg said he hopes the metaverse will reach a billion people in the next decade. He also said that he hopes the new technology will create millions of jobs for the “creators” or new app makers.

The announcement comes amid legislative scrutiny and growing criticism of Facebook in many countries around the world for the Facebook Papers. Building a new image of the company is considered not to solve the myriad of problems revealed in internal documents.

Zuckerberg himself called the furore triggered by the Facebook Papers as unfair. [em/lt]

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