Facebook Rebrands as ‘Meta’ to Highlight New Focus on Metaverse

A it tries to move past being a scandal-plagued social network to its virtual reality vision for the future, the tech giant Facebook changed on Thursday its parent company name to “Meta”, The Hill reports.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding during his address about the company’s ambitions in what they are calling the “metaverse,” an immersive virtual online experience which would blur the lines between the physical world and the digital one.

During the livestreamed event, Zuckerberg pointed that as one of the most used products in the history of the world, Facebook just doesn’t encompass everything the company does in a time when it battles to fend off one of its worst crises.

The company is facing intense scrutiny in light of the whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony painting a company that prioritizes profit over user safety and leaking internal studies showing executives knew of their sites’ potential for harm.

According to former Facebook employees and leaked documents, in its race to become a global service the company also failed to police abusive content in countries where such speech was most likely to cause the most harm, becoming a channel for “hate speech, inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation.”

The scandal prompting a renewed US push for regulation.

Though the details on the new model are scant, it appears that the change only applies to the parent company and not to the individual platforms it owns like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, Novi and Whatsapp that are now listed under the ‘What We Build’ section on the website meta.com.

This reorganization reminds on the one that Google implemented in 2015 when it formed Alphabet.

Meanwhile, company’s critics pounced on the rebranding pointing that Facebook has done this because the brand has become toxic and that it’s only an effort to deflect attention from the platform’s dysfunction.

The activist group ‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ has warned that that the real issue is the need for oversight and regulation of the platform that is harming democracy while spreading disinformation and hate and that cannot be solved by a meaningless name change.

According to Vicky Wyatt, Campaign Director at the non-profit focused on corporate accountability, SumOfUs, Zuckerberg’s decision to focus on rebranding rather than on the scandal-caused crisis is another sign that the company cares more about its image than fixing its toxic business model.

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