Facebook Changes Company Name to ‘Meta,’ Announces New VR Headset and AR Smartglasses

Mark Zuckerberg: “We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet.”

(Getty Images)

Facebook will now be known as Meta.

The oft-criticized tech giant’s company name change was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference, CNBC reports. Meta is an abbreviated form of the sci-fi term “metaverse” that CEO Mark Zuckerberg began using publicly in past weeks. It describes a virtual world in which people can both play and work. The names of the Facebook and Instagram social media services will not change.

“Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” Zuckerberg said.

The company’s stock ticker will switch from FB to MVRS on December 1. FB’s stock price was up nearly 3.5 percent as of Thursday afternoon.

Ray-Bay Stories
(Facebook / Ray-Ban)

The company formerly known as Facebook has poured resources into VR and AR hardware development in the past few years. Key products include a line of Portal video-calling devices, Ray-Bay Stories smartglasses, and numerous Oculus virtual-reality headset models.

Two new products were also announced at the conference. A high-end virtual reality headset named Project Cambria will be released next year, while Meta’s first fully AR-capable smart glasses, dubbed Project Nasaray, is in the works with an undetermined release date.

Meta plans to spend another $10 billion in the next year on metaverse technologies. The company expects “to invest many billions of dollars for years to come before the metaverse reaches scale” and becomes mainstream in 5 to 10 years, Zuckerberg added.

“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg said. “We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet.”

Facebook’s rebranding comes after a storm of reports criticizing the company’s lack of action against known harms brought on users by its own apps and services. Zuckerberg has vehemently refuted those reports.