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Facebook takes 'Meta' as its new virtual-reality brand name

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Facebook takes Meta as its new virtual-reality brand name
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San Francisco: Facebook Inc said on Thursday it would rebrand as Meta, a name change that comes as the company battles criticisms from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, its algorithmic decisions and the policing of abuses on its platforms.

The tech giant said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand. It said it would not change its corporate structure.

"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.

"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.

Facebook critics pounced last week on a report that leaked the rebranding plans, arguing the company was aiming to distract from recent scandals and controversy.

An activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board has warned that major industries like oil and tobacco had 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 has just announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the "metaverse," with Zuckerberg emerging as a leading promoter of the concept.

The social media giant has been battling a fresh crisis since former employee Frances Haugen leaked reams of internal studies showing executives knew of their sites' potential for harm, prompting a renewed US push for regulation.

Facebook has been hit by major crises previously, but the current view behind the curtain of the insular company has fueled a frenzy of scathing reports and scrutiny from US regulators.

The Washington Post last month suggested that Facebook's interest in the metaverse is "part of a broader push to rehabilitate the company's reputation with policymakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave Internet technologies."

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