Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in the announcement that the new name reflects the growing influence of the "metaverse," which he described as "a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place."
"In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine—get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create—as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today," Zuckerberg wrote.
"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 parents’ living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint."
Announcing @Meta — the Facebook company’s new name. Meta is helping to build the metaverse, a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection. pic.twitter.com/ywSJPLsCoDOctober 28, 2021
The metaverse "will not be created by one company," but will be a cooperative effort between creators and developers that he hopes to help "accelerate" through the development of technologies, social platforms, and other tools. Zuckerberg also touched on the need for privacy, safety, open standards and interoperability, although how exactly this renamed Facebook will approach that is left unsaid. Less encouragingly, he also explicitly called out the need to support cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
"From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first," Zuckerberg continued. "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 clarified on Twitter that the names of the actual apps it operates, including Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and even Facebook, will not change. In that sense, this seems similar to Google, which became Alphabet Inc. in 2015, but continued to operate under its older, much more familiar name as a subsidiary.
For the moment, Facebook is still Facebook, but you can get a closer look at the new Meta (get it?) at meta.com.