New Delhi: Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, announced on Thursday that the parent company’s name will be changed to “Meta” to signify a future beyond the embattled social network. The names of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram will not change as a result of the rebranding.

The new name comes at a time when the social media behemoth strives to recover from one of its most serious crises to focus on its vision for the “metaverse,” a virtual reality version of the internet that the tech behemoth views as the way of the future.

“We’ve learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we’ve learned and help build the next chapter,” Zuckerberg said during an annual developers conference. Also Read: Facebook Name Change: Twitter erupts with laughter over rebranding

“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing,” he added.

Last week, Facebook critics jumped on a report that revealed the rebranding plans, claiming the firm was attempting to divert attention away from recent scandals and controversy.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board, an activist group, has warned that large sectors like oil and tobacco have rebranded to “deflect attention” from their problems.

“Facebook thinks that a rebrand can help them change the subject,” the group said last week, adding the “real issue” was the need for oversight and regulation.

Facebook recently announced ambitions to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union to help construct the “metaverse,” with Zuckerberg emerging as a proponent of the concept.

Crisis mode

Since former employee Frances Haugen disclosed reams of internal papers proving management were aware of their services’ potential for harm, the social media giant has been embroiled in a new crisis, triggering a renewed US campaign for legislation.

Although Facebook has faced severe crises in the past, the current look behind the curtain of the closed firm has sparked a frenzy of critical reports and scrutiny from US regulators.

“Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that what we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company,” Zuckerberg said in an earnings call on Monday.

Facebook’s interest in the metaverse, according to the Washington Post, is “part of a broader campaign to rehabilitate the company’s reputation with politicians and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave Internet technology.”

Despite other operations such as Waymo self-driving cars and Verily life sciences, Google rebranded itself as Alphabet in 2015, and the internet search and ad powerhouse remains its defining unit.

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