Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the corporate name of the social media platform will change to "Meta" to emphasize its "metaverse" vision. The flagship social network will keep its name.
"From now on we are going to be Metaverse first, not Facebook," Zuckerberg said during a keynote address at the company's annual developer's conference. "I hope that people come to know the Meta brand and the future that we stand for."
Zuckerberg said the company's future will focus on building virtual reality products that connect users through a different medium. He predicted that one billion people will be on the Metaverse in the next decade.
The company describes the metaverse as a three-dimensional virtual space where users can create avatars that represent them. Zuckerberg said the new virtual reality world will allow users to play video games, watch movies, attend concerts, collaborate with colleagues, and gather with friends without leaving their living room.
Zuckerberg called Facebook, which he launched from his college dorm room in 2004, "an iconic social media company," but added that the name no longer "encompasses" everything the company does.
"Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything that we're doing today, let alone in the future," Zuckerberg said.
The company is also changing its stock ticker from "FB" to "MVRS" effective December 1.
In August, Zuckerberg told CBS Mornings' anchor Gayle King the metaverse is "the next generation of the internet."
He explained that "instead of being an internet that we look at, right, on our mobile phones or on our computer screens, it's an internet that we are a part of, or that we can be inside of."
While the metaverse is years away from being fully realized, Zuckerberg said in addition to technological advances, it will also require "new forms of governance."
The company is currently facing criticism for the lack of protections it has provided users on its suite of social media apps. Earlier this month, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen publicly came forward after leaking thousands of documents that showed company executives knew the platform helped spread misinformation for years but did not do enough to combat the negative effects.
In testimony before a congressional committee and on "60 Minutes," she accused the company of putting profits over people. Facebook has denied those accusations.
Zuckerberg said Thursday that "privacy" and "safety" controls need to be built into the Metaverse from day one.
"You will get to decide when you want to be with other people, when you want to block someone from appearing in your space or when you want to take a break and teleport to a private place to be alone," Zuckerberg said.
The keynote address also featured a brief appearance from Nick Clegg, the company's vice president of global affairs. Clegg said in the past the speed with which technology advances often leaves lawmakers and regulators playing catch up.
"On the one hand the companies get accused of charging ahead too quickly, and on the other, tech people feel that progress can't afford to wait for the slower pace of regulation," Clegg said. He added that this time it could be different "because we have years until the metaverse that we envision is realized."