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Facebook: What does meta mean and why was the rebrand name chosen?


Facebook has rebranded to Meta, but what does the new name mean? (Picture: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty)

Facebook has faced its fair share of issues in recent months including its huge outage leading to WhatsApp and Instagram going down, not to mention some blistering whistleblower claims.

And now, CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg has decided to give the company a rebrand and new name.

The name change, which has had mixed reviews, will see all of the apps and technologies brought together under one company brand.

If you’re wondering where the name came from and what it means, here’s everything you need to know about Meta.

What does meta mean?

The word ‘meta’ is initially defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as meaning: ‘Showing or suggesting an explicit awareness of itself or oneself as a member of its category’.

Facebook’s new name Meta has various definitions (Picture: EPA)

However, it is also described as: ‘Concerning or providing information about members of its own category’ – which seems to be the most relevant application for Zuckerberg.

The word ‘meta’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘beyond.’

The word meta is a prefix, and in the case of Facebook, it is adjoined with an abbreviation of ‘universe’ to create the phrase Mark Zuckerberg’s drew inspiration from: ‘metaverse’.

Other words that use meta as a prefix include metaphysics (an area of philosophy that explores existence) and metamorphosis (the changing of forms).

Why was the Meta rebrand name chosen for Facebook?

While Mark Zuckerberg has renamed the company Meta, the Facebook app will keep its name.

The Facebook creator explained that the name change was linked to connecting all of the products and offerings Facebook had including WhatsApp and Instagram.

Revealing his reasoning behind the name, Zuckerberg said: ‘Now we have a new north star to help bring the metaverse to life, and we have a new name that reflects the full breadth of what we do and the future that we want to help build.

‘From now on, we’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first.’

He added: ‘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.’

The name stems from the tech founder’s vision to create a ‘metaverse’ whereby a world of interconnected and virtual communities can meet, work and play using virtual reality.

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He also referred to the idea of the theoretical digital universe from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash.

At the company’s Connect conference, he went on to say: ‘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’re building towards.

‘We’re now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments: one for our family of apps, and one for work on future platforms.’


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