By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected]

Last week,  during a livestream event, Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has changed its corporate name to “Meta”.

The rebranding was effective immediately but only applied to the business itself, meaning that you will not have to learn any new name for its individual apps and services.

In other words, the Facebook social media platform is still exactly the same as it was before, and so are the parent company’s other products (like Oculus, Instagram and WhatsApp). The only thing that has been renamed here is the conglomerate itself.

As Zuckerberg articulated in the Connect livestream, the Facebook brand only represented part of the company’s operations. But now, has multiple subsidiaries and divisions working on things beyond just the Facebook platform.

Not only does the company provide alternative social media services, like WhatsApp, but it has also been moving into other areas of tech lately, including Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

What does Metaverse mean?

The metaverse is an online virtual realm where people would work, play and shop. Facebook boss described it as “the next evolution of social connection. It’s a collective project that will be created by people all over the world, and open to everyone. You’ll be able to socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what’s possible today.”

In the words of  Zuckerberg, “from now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first.”

He said, over time, users won’t need a Facebook account to access Meta’s other services.

Ahead of its rebrand, Facebook had invested heavily in virtual/augmented reality.

It had also developed hardware like its Oculus VR headsets, working on AR glasses and wristband technologies, and buying a bevy of VR gaming studios, including BigBox VR.

Among its products, Meta will include Zuckerberg apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and the VR startup Oculus. Of course, Facebook will be included.

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On Meta and its work towards creating a VR space, Zuckerberg said users will be able to connect, work, learn, play, shop, and create in a manner distinct from how people think about computers presently.

“We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day,” Zuckerberg further said.

“In the 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 opportunities no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut downtime in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint.”

The name

The word Meta is of Greek origin, meaning “beyond”.

For Mark Zuckerberg, it symbolizes the journey ahead for the company, the next chapter for the company, and what is still to be built.

In Zuckerberg’s words: “Think about how many physical things you have today that could just be holograms in the future.

“Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games, and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.

“Our role in this journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental techs, social platforms, and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps.”