Facebook rebrands to Meta as virtual worlds become ‘new North Star’

Facebook is rebranding its corporate identity to Meta in a bid to become a “social technology company” focused on developing virtual worlds, otherwise known as the metaverse.

While the holding company name will change to Meta, effective immediately, the Facebook platform, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger will retain their brand names. CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the business will report on two different segments – one for its family of apps and one for its work on future platforms – and to aid this shift a new corporate brand was needed.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity as we begin this next chapter. Facebook is one of the most used products in the history of the world. It is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything that we do,” he explained during the company’s Connect 2021 developer event today (28 October).

“Building our social media apps will always be an important focus for us, but right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time I hope we’re seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.”

Describing the rebrand as a “fundamental change” for the business, Zuckerberg outlined that while the company has the same mission to bring people together, its new North Star is “to help bring the metaverse to life”. Therefore the name Meta, inspired by the Greek word meaning beyond, was chosen to reflect the full breadth of what the company does and what it wants to achieve.

Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms sucks ass

“From now on we’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first. That means that over time you won’t need to use Facebook to use our other services and as our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope that people come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for,” said Zuckerberg.

The rebrand includes a new logo and gradient of blue, referencing the original Facebook blue shade. The logo has been designed to be experienced in 3D and move within a virtual context, as well as resemble both an ‘M’ for Meta and the infinity sign.

The last time Facebook tweaked its corporate brand was in 2019, when a new identity was rolled out with a view to more clearly showing its products and services – Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram – all belonged to one company. The typeface for the Meta logo is the same as was introduced during the 2019 rebrand.

Exploring the metaverse

During the presentation, Zuckerberg described the metaverse as allowing people to “move beyond the constraints of screens” to open up new experiences. He outlined the company’s vision for these virtual worlds, which he admitted is years from being fully realised.

Meta defines the metaverse as a social, 3D virtual space where users can share immersive experiences with other people and do things that aren’t possible in the physical world. According to Zuckerberg, this spans everything from gaming, entertainment and fitness, to work and education.

Facebook Metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg is making the metaverse his company’s number one priority.

The Meta CEO discussed the different ways virtual worlds could be used for business in the future, such as dropping exclusive products into the metaverse and allowing followers to pay for access. Zuckerberg also raised the prospect of advertising within the metaverse.

Furthermore, there was discussion of how Meta’s existing Horizon software could be used within the metaverse for both leisure and work. These span Horizon Home, which would act as a social meeting place, Horizon Worlds, which would allow users to build their own virtual ‘worlds’, Horizon Workrooms, aimed at hybrid working post-Covid, and Horizon Marketplace, pitched as the future home of the metaverse economy.

Zuckerberg insisted his company is dedicating its energy to developing the metaverse more than any other business in the world, adding: “We’ve learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything we’ve learned and help build the next chapter.”

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