CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that although Facebook is known as a social media company, “in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started.” The name change was announced at the Facebook Connect conference on augmented and virtual reality.
What happens to my Facebook stock?
Facebook, which currently trades on the Nasdaq as the recognizable “FB”, has already officially changed its company name, and its ticker symbol is soon to follow. The stock ticker for Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) will be “MVRS” starting Dec. 1.
Some confusion about Facebook’s new stock name has already appeared in the markets. Shares of both Meta Materials Inc. (MMAT) and Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (META) rose on Oct. 28 following the news from Facebook. However, Meta will trade as MVRS, not META, when it changes on Dec. 1.
Other metaverse stocks, such as Fastly and Nvidia, may be ones to watch as the world potentially shifts to a metaverse economy.
What does the name "Meta" mean?
Facebook had already hinted at this shift, having announced in July 2021 that it was forming a team to focus on development of the metaverse. But what is the metaverse, exactly?
The metaverse refers to the concept of people everywhere existing and communicating through virtual environments, an idea often attributed to science-fiction creators. The metaverse can be facilitated through mobile apps, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other technology. Some view it as the next wave of the Internet.
Why is Facebook changing to Meta?
Zuckerberg said in his virtual presentation on Oct. 28 that “our brand is so tightly linked with one product that can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future.” Meta is working to diversify and branch into many other areas.
Meta has already begun investing in metaverse-focused areas such as AR-capable smart glasses under Project Nazare. Its VR headset, Project Cambria, is expected to launch sometime in 2022, Zuckerberg said. Bloomberg reported that Meta aims to draw its billions of social-media users into users of “immersive digital experiences through devices powered by augmented and virtual reality software.”
This rebranding occurs in the midst of Facebook’s numerous scandals and challenges, including a Facebook whistleblower's testimony about the company’s failure to address serious safety and privacy concerns. The name change may be a means of diverting negative attention.
Other motivations for Facebook becoming Meta include its need to diversify its business and revenue streams as other social media companies (such as ByteDance’s TikTok) gain popularity in younger demographic groups.
Zuckerberg and the Meta executives also recognize that the social media platform depends on mobile operating systems and browser companies such as Google and Apple. This rebranding may help position the company to have greater control as the metaverse develops globally.