At last week’s Facebook Connect 2021 conference, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will no longer be called Facebook, and is now called Meta.
Explaining the great change, Mark Zuckerberg said the company was increasing focus on two different market segments – one of its family of apps, which includes Facebook, and another for its work on future platforms:
“From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services. As our new brand starts showing up in our products, I hope people around the world come to know the Meta brand and the future we stand for.”
Facebook is not the first prominent tech company to change its company name as its ambitions expand. In 2015, Google reorganised under a holding company called Alphabet, partly to signal that it was no longer just a search engine, but a sprawling conglomerate with companies making everything from driverless cars to health technologies.
In addition to Alphabet, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc. in 2016, the same year it started calling itself a “camera company” and debuted its first pair of wearable camera glasses.
Despite these great changes other powerful companies have made, it is understandable how Meta’s recent company updates have raised more questions and interest, as their legacy applications are used not just for social means, but as powerful online marketing tools for businesses of all sizes.
How will this impact its current services?
The company’s metaverse-related services will be available to use in addition to all its current social media platforms and services. And with no further changes planned to these pre-existing applications, which include Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, businesses and marketers everywhere can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
From official updates announced thus far, it seems that there will be no obligation to join the metaverse as a prerequisite to use the company’s other services.
What is the Metaverse?
Explaining the ambitious metaverse concept, Mr Zuckerberg revealed at Connect 2021 that:
“It’s a virtual environment. We can be present with people in digital spaces. And you can kind of think about this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at. And we believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile internet.“
“Within the metaverse, you can build a hang out, play games with friends, work, create and more,” he said. “You’re basically going to be able to do everything that you can on the internet today, as well as some things that don’t make sense on the internet today like dancing.“
Zuckerberg envisions that we would be able to access the metaverse “from all different devices and different levels of fidelity from apps on phones and PCs to immersive virtual and augmented reality devices”.
For the foreseeable future, Meta’s legacy applications including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and how they function, will not be modified or changed. Now regarded as just a segment of Meta, they will operate entirely separately from the ambitious and innovative plans Zuckerberg has to transform how we communicate and interact with each other online.
This looks to be a wise decision, as it means that all online businesses who depend on Meta’s powerful social media platforms for advertising and reach, need not hastily reconsider their online marketing strategies.
As business owners and digital marketers alike, we can continue to utilise Meta’s powerful online services for our commercial needs with confidence that these will not be altered any time soon. To enter the metaverse however, is a separate choice – one that could transform how we interact socially forever.
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