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Facebook changes name to Meta as part of metaverse focus shift

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Rob Longert, Meta

During the annual Connect 2021 conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the organisation Facebook will be changing its name to Meta, as part of the company’s shift to “bring the metaverse to life”.

Bringing together all of its apps and technologies, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, under the new umbrella, the latest transformation aims to develop a hybrid of today’s online social experiences. Presented as an evolution of social technology, the metaverse looks to be an immersive space that allows users to do things together that are not possible in the physical world.

“You will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram…”

“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence - like you are right there with another person or in another place,” Zuckerberg said, in a founder’s letter. “Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.”

Image: Rob Longert, Meta

He added: “In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parent’s living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunities no matter where you live.”

Further into his letter, Zuckerberg emphasises plans to develop fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring this metaverse to life, stating: “We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today.”

As part of the Connect conference, developers and creators in various aspects of the technology industry came together to discuss the possibilities of the new virtual reality over the next decade.

Image: Rob Longert, Meta

Tools to assist people in building for the metaverse were additionally introduced, including the Presence Platform, developed for mixed reality experiences.

A 150 million dollar investment into immersive training for next-generation creators was also revealed.

The fashion industry has already made a number of advancements into the metaverse arena, in the form of gaming collaborations, digitally designed collections and virtual reality production. Pandemic-related matters have further pushed the industry into exploring the online sphere, with many brands turning to virtual presentations in place of physical events.

Digital-only designers are also on the rise, with many new creators seeing a number of benefits to the digital elements of fashion, including sustainable production methods and aligning with the values of the ever-increasing digital natives, Gen Z.

Moving beyond 2D screens towards immersive experiences

Ultimately, Meta’s plans are to build technologies that help people connect, find communities and grow businesses, moving away from 2-dimensional screens towards more immersive experiences, like AR.

Image: Rob Longert, Meta

Additional tools presented during the conference included the expansion of Horizon Home, transforming it into a virtual reality (VR) social platform, VR messenger calls, AR gaming, presented in collaboration with Rockstar Games’ upcoming Grand Theft Auto release, and Quest for Business, hoping to offer a more immersive work experience.

The company’s corporate structure is not set to change, but Zuckerberg did address specific bumps in the road that have been “humbling” for the business. In his letter, he outlines the importance of privacy and safety in the metaverse, as well as new forms of governance and ecosystems to enable users to become creators in a safe and secure manner.

“From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” he stated. “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.”

Image: Rob Longert, Meta

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