Lee Groeger - 12/06/2021
I was in college when Facebook rolled out in 2004—technically, it was TheFacebook—which means I had access to the platform when relatively no one else did. As an early adopter and unwavering user since then, professionally and personally, I know by now that there are always new changes coming around the bend. But hearing Mark Zuckerberg announce that Facebook would be changing to Meta threw me for a loop.
My first thoughts were probably the same as any brand or social media manager’s: is this really the end of the Facebook name? Will we be logging onto “Meta” now, and if so, will we need to replace the icons, links and other references across all print and digital materials?
Happily, the answer is no. Here’s what the change means, along with answers to a few other Meta-centric questions that are top of mind for our clients and organizations everywhere.
Is the Facebook app changing to Meta?
Nope. Meta (a.k.a. Meta Platforms, Inc.) is Facebook’s (a.k.a. Facebook, Inc.’s) new corporate name, and the rebrand brings all the apps and technology the company has built under this new umbrella. As noted in a message from Facebook’s Help Center, “While our company name is changing, we are continuing to offer the same products, including the Facebook app from Meta.” So, the Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp apps will all remain the same.
Two caveats here: 1) Meta will retire the Oculus name starting early 2022; Oculus Quest will be Meta Quest and the Oculus App will be Meta Quest App; and 2) The Facebook Portal video device will be rebranded as “Meta Portal” sometime in the next few months.
Why the change?
A page Facebook has dedicated to introducing Meta discloses that the company changed its name to reflect its commitment to bringing the metaverse—described as “the next chapter of social connection”—to life. Essentially, the Facebook name no longer encompasses what the company has become; the move to Meta supports the goal of focusing on the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg has shared his view that the metaverse is the next generation of the internet, a virtual environment that will allow people to be present with each other in digital spaces and interact with others virtually via an avatar.
Here are a direct quote from Meta.com that help illustrate the company’s vision, and why it was time to retire the Facebook name:
“Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
How will the move to Meta affect my company Facebook page?
So far, it won’t. In a blog post, the company clearly stated that the name change doesn’t invite any modifications to its current corporate structure, including how it uses or shares data.
What will change with Meta?
One of the major updates announced, not necessarily as part of the Meta rollout, but around the same time, is the elimination of Facebook’s Face Recognition system. Users who’ve opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos and the company will delete more than one billion people’s individual facial recognition templates. While there are many instances where facial recognition can be helpful (e.g., identity verification, fraud prevention), those need to be weighed against growing concerns about the use of the overall use of the technology as a whole.
Like most of the changes to Facebook, the only other modification worth mentioning is purely cosmetic: Facebook has ditched its previous FB stock ticker and is now trading as MVRS.
While the intention of the Metaverse is to change everything, when it comes to Facebook, it looks like the move to Meta won’t change much of anything, at least for now.
Not interested in the metaverse? Maybe Icelandverse is more your speed. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and watch this metaverse parody video Iceland tourism created, which hilariously touts the “completely immersive” experiences visitors can enjoy such as “water that’s wet,” “skies you can see with your eyeballs”…and so much more.