Reader's Digest Social Media

Facebook’s Decision to Change its Name to Meta Explained

Regular users of the app were surprised to learn that Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg had rebranded the app. However, Zuckerberg claimed that the change was meant to signal that Facebook was expanding and that it was connected to multiple products. He said Meta was a better representation of what the company is trying to achieve.

We asked experts in the industry to comment on the Facebook rebrand and Zuckerberg’s reasons. Here’s what we discovered.

What is Meta?
On 28 October, a founders letter was sent. It focused on the idea that the company wants to be more known than the Facebook service.

“We just made it clear that we are making fundamental changes to our company. Now, we are separating our reporting and analysis into two distinct segments of our business: one for the family of apps and one to support our work on future platforms.

Our work in the metaverse is more than one segment. The metaverse includes both future technology and social experiences. We need to broaden our vision and adopt a new brand.

This means that the company will gradually take the spotlight away from Facebook. The letter also states that people won’t need Facebook accounts in the future to access other services.

Zuckerberg also said that Meta means beyond and referred to the company’s efforts to “move beyond what is possible today”.

What is the reason Facebook changed its name to Meta
Trusted Reviews spoke with Kyla Lam, the ARVR/Wearables research analyst at IDC. She said that while the letter made sense, it was also undeniably a response to Frances Haugen, whistleblower, ongoing testimony against the company.

“I believe there are many reasons why Facebook renamed themselves as Meta. First, Facebook is facing multiple allegations regarding privacy and safety. This is despite Frances Haugen’s testimony against Facebook,” said Lam.

It also helps investors to be calm as stock prices have been falling recently. A parent company simplifies operations. This suggests that it could be easier to evaluate its Family of Apps, including Instagram and Facebook Reality Labs. AR and VR-related business segments can also be evaluated independently.

Lam’s decision to add Lam’s name is likely reflective of Facebook’s desire for greater reach and more ad revenue.

Lam continued, “Lastly, changing its title to a term from science fiction, metaverse’ signifies Facebook’s commitment towards universalizing this method of communication.”

“Over 97% Facebook revenue is generated from advertising. While Facebook’s trust is declining, its commitment to this metaverse project proves its ability to create value in addition to advertising.”

Are you a believer that Meta was the right choice?
GlobalData principal analyst Tammy Parker told Trusted Reviews that while there are security concerns, the name could be a positive for Facebook’s growth.

Parker stated that renaming Facebook as Meta Platforms (or Meta) is a positive and forward-looking decision for the company. It emphasizes the emerging metaverse concept, which is powered by AR/VR technologies.

“In the end, Facebook’s social network, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger will all retain their names. They will be seen as part of the Meta Platforms umbrella and will therefore all be considered one entity. This is designed to go beyond social media networking.

Meta will include all platforms Facebook currently has, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, Messenger, Oculus, and Oculus.

Marta Pinto (senior research manager at IDC) echoed Parker’s sentiment but said it won’t solve all of Facebook’s problems.

Pinto stated, “In my opinion, the brand shift makes sense for two reasons: Mark Zuckerberg pointed to the fact that Facebook grew into a tech company and that the brand isn’t aligned with its mission and vision.”

“Another negative note is that constant negative disclosures about Facebook are very damaging and erode brand equity so a [new] name can be] useful.”

Are there any other large brands that have done this?
Trusted Reviews spoke with Parker about how Facebook’s rebrand mirrors an identical move made by Google in 2015.

Parker stated that this is similar to Google’s 2015 renaming of itself Alphabet and making the Google subsidiary an Alphabet affiliate, signaling investors, advertisers, and users that the company would be looking at new markets and revenue potentials.”

Parker said that even though the timing of the move is questionable, it is one that has already been in the works for some time.

Parker stated that while many critics believe Facebook’s name change was a result of increased governmental and regulatory scrutiny it faces around the world, the new moniker is much more than that.”

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