Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced the name change at the company’s livestreamed Connect conference, where he laid out Facebook’s vision for the future of the internet.
“Today we are seen as a social media company but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people. The metaverse is the next frontier, just like social networking was when we got started,” he said.
The metaverse is an immersive digital world where virtual and augmented reality will come together.
Acknowledging the popularity of Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg said the social media brand no longer encompassed everything the company does. “Our social media apps will always be an important focus for us. But right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product, that it can’t possibly represent to everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” he said. “Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we are building towards.”
Announcing the new name, Mr Zuckerberg said there would be two different segments to its business: one for its family of apps, and one for its work on future platforms.
This year’s Connect conference is dedicated to augmented reality and virtual reality technology. Mr Zuckerberg showed the potential uses for the new metaverse, including Facebook’s Horizon Worlds, which is a personal social experience; a virtual workplace called Horizon Workrooms; gaming and virtual workouts among others. The company also showed off more advanced ways of interacting with virtual environments, including photorealistic avatars and wrist-based neural interfaces.
“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” Mr Zuckerberg said. “We’ll all be able to feel present, like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.”
Facebook announced earlier this month that it would recruit 10,000 people in Europe to build the metaverse.