Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg made a pretty big announcement last week. The company that owns Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and a few other businesses, made the decision to rebrand itself. Facebook (the company, not the app) will now be known as Meta Platforms—or Meta for short. This has left many people asking—why did Facebook change its name?

Why Meta?

Have you heard of the metaverse? If you haven’t, don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to the company now known as Meta, the metaverse is “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality.”

On October 28th, Facebook’s name change was announced. In a founder’s letter that was sent out, Mark Zuckerberg explained that he wants the company to be known for more than their Facebook service.

“Right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” Zuckerberg stated.

“We just announced that we’re making a fundamental change to our company. We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments: one for our family of apps and one for our work on future platforms,” Zuckerberg explains. “Our work on the metaverse is not just one of these segments. The metaverse encompasses both the social experiences and future technology. As we broaden our vision, it’s time for us to adopt a new brand.”

While many speculate that Zuckerberg made the announcement to shift the focus away from recent negative headlines, he stands firm that the announcement would have come regardless. Facebook, as a company, wants to move past being known for its Facebook app. Meta means beyond and the company plans to “move beyond what’s possible today” claims the Facebook founder.

Why Did Facebook Have to Change Its Name?

According to Shakespeare, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Which means, it doesn’t matter what you call something if it still functions the same way. So why did Facebook feel the need to change its name? Well, because Facebook is looking to change the perceived functionality of the team.

As The Verge explains it, “A rebrand could serve to further separate the futuristic work Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny Facebook is currently under for the way its social platform operates today.” Between the former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, the last five years of negative press coverage, and rising privacy concerns among users, Facebook has been slowly losing the public’s trust. However, Zuckerberg claims that the name change has nothing to do with these issues.

According to The New York Times, “The move punctuates how Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, plans to refocus his Silicon Valley company on what he sees as the next digital frontier, which is the unification of disparate digital worlds into something called the metaverse.” We may never know for certain, but it sounds like Zuckerberg is sticking to his story. The name change has everything to do with moving beyond the Facebook app, and nothing to do with the issues plaguing Facebook over the last decade.

Did Facebook have to change its name? No. But did the announcement come at a great time to help Zucerkberg move his company past its Facebook app while simultaneously taking the spotlight off of the company’s recent scrutiny? Yes.

What Does Facebook’s Name Change Mean for the Future?

It looks like Meta will be putting more focus into projects outside of the Facebook app. Just like Google is owned by Alphabet Inc, Meta looks to separate itself from being known for only one thing—Facebook. What this means for the future of the Facebook app, no one knows. I do think it’s safe to say, however, that moving forward we’ll be hearing Mark Zuckerberg talk a lot less about Facebook and a lot more about their future projects involving the metaverse. It should also be safe to assume that advertising will still be at the forefront of Meta’s business plan moving forward. If your company is in need of help running ads on Facebook or Instagram, reach out to Set Fire Creative today.