5th November 2021
Facebook has rebranded as Meta, a move which it is positioning as fundamental to the company’s next era of growth as it plays a central role in building out the metaverse.
The rebrand to Meta (actual company name Meta Platforms Inc.) doesn’t change the company’s corporate structure, but it does change how the company will report its financials. Starting with Q4 2021 results there will be two reporting segments: ‘Family of Apps’ and ‘Reality Labs’. Family of Apps will cover the Facebook main ‘blue app’, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Reality Labs covers the company’s ambitions for the metaverse across VR and AR, including Oculus. The rebrand will also see an updated to the stock ticker, to MVRS, from 1st December but it doesn’t change how the company uses or shares data.
Speaking about the change, Mark Zuckerberg said: “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. 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. Our work on the metaverse is not just one of these segments. The metaverse encompasses both the social experiences and future technology.”
The rebrand comes as Meta faces significant brand trust issues in its core Facebook brand, and the rebrand of the parent company is being seen by many as an attempt to put as much distance as possible between these issues and the future of the company, the metaverse, both for consumers and also brands.
Zuckerberg spoke in multiple interviews after the launch about the issue of Oculus Quest users, Meta’s main VR headset product, having to login in with a Facebook account and how this would be changed so there wouldn’t be the ‘confusion and awkwardness’ of having the company brand also be the brand of one of the social media apps and therefore creating questions in consumers’ minds about data usage implications or sharing across social media accounts.
The desire to create some distance between the problems that have dogged the Facebook brand in the social media space and the bright new future that Meta sees in the metaverse, are clear. Meta sees itself, and wants others to see it, as a technology company that is building the future metaverse, not a social media company that is associated with the well-publicised problems stemming from social media platforms. Whether a new brand will achieve this or not remains to be seen but it does theoretically make it easier for different parts of the overall Meta business to live without as much interdependence on each other and as such, would provide options should regulators take a closer interest or any backlash grow stronger.