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Facebook to be called Meta in nod to its 'metaverse' vision

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses the audience on the challenges of protecting free speech at a forum hosted by Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service and the McCourt School of Public Policy in Washington, Oct. 17, 2019.

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses the audience on the challenges of protecting free speech at a forum hosted by Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service and the McCourt School of Public Policy in Washington, Oct. 17, 2019. (Carlos Jasso, Reuters)


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MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook said on Thursday it would rebrand as Meta, a name change that underscores its ambitions to refocus the world's largest social network on building the "metaverse."

The rebrand comes as the company battles criticisms from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, algorithmic decisions and the policing of abuses on its platforms.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the company's live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference, said the new name reflected its focus on building this new virtual realm rather than its namesake social media service.

"Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything that we're doing today, let alone in the future," he said.

The tech giant said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand. It said it would not change its corporate structure.

The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley, refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices.

The company unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up "Like" logo with a blue infinity shape.

Zuckerberg said the new name reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company's other services.

The company said in a blog post that it intends to start trading under the new stock ticker it has reserved, MVRS, on Dec. 1.

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Elizabeth Culliford and Sheila Dang

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