Facebook has had a few issues lately. It's been making plenty of money. The problem is that regulators are extremely interested as to whether it's internal processes fail to protect it's users and promote a variety of harmful content. It seems just providing people with more of what they want might do more harm than good.
Almost as if the current problems are being ignored the CEO, Mark Zukerberg, announced that the company will change it's name to Meta.
There is a lot to look at with this. Facebook is more than just it's own social media site. It also owns WhatsApp, InstaGram, and Occulus. There is some sense in having an overarching brand that ties together these businesses.
Zuckerberg not only faces regulatory pressure but also the impression that Facebook itself is becoming a toxic environment and, for some, a threat to democracy supporting conspiracy theories, anti-vax movements and much more. Facebook also has a changing demographic. People under the age of 30 are more likely to be using newer upcoming platforms such as TikTok than Facebook. There is also controversy with WhatsApp and privacy. Specifically, what it shares with other FaceBook companies. Instagram is controversial in how it's social media influencers present unrealistic views of people by using filters and the like.
In short, it's not plain sailing for the billionaire.
Now we get to Meta. Meta is an abbreviation for Metaverse. Zuckerberg has a context for all of this. He looks at the Internet and social media as platforms. Spaces that many companies developed products and services. He presents both of these spaces as a way of humanity connecting.
In a somewhat clunky presentation he puts Meta at the centre of the next platform shift. Using virtual reality or augmented reality. The idea is people create a home space, similar to how people created web pages or personal web sites. People can also create meeting spaces in the same way they might have a group chat. He also suggested people can attend concerts or events virtually.
He describes having digital assets and applications sharing digital assets.
It's implied that other companies would supply some of the hardware and software to access the metaverse. This could include Windows Mixed Reality. Of course Zuckerberg may want to be the biggest player in the metaverse.
Unlike the Internet, which is a largely open platform, the metaverse may be a closed commercial platform managed by a small number of tech companies. It could even be controlled by just one tech company. If that company is Meta then Mark Zuckerberg will be reasonably pleased with the rebrand.