‘Live in the future’: Zuckerberg unveils company overhaul amid shift to metaverse

CEO of company formerly called Facebook touts pivot at all-hands meeting as he faces investment concerns

“Move fast”, “build awesome things” and “live in the future” were among Meta’s new internal values introduced by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, as the company grapples with growing pains in its pivot towards virtual reality and the “metaverse”.

Speaking at an all-hands meeting on Tuesday, the CEO unveiled a number of new slogans and internal branding changes at the company, previously called Facebook.

In a post shared to his own Facebook page, Zuckerberg said Meta was now “a metaverse company, building the future of social connection” rather than primarily a social media company. The company is also now calling its employees “metamates”, which according to one executive is a reference to the naval slogan “ship, shipmate, self”.

Following the recent name change, Zuckerberg said that he wanted to recalibrate company policies and values – which had not been updated since 2007. He also encouraged workers to “focus on long-term impact” – perhaps a nod to investor concerns about immediate fallout from the pivot.

“‘Focus on long-term impact’ emphasizes long-term thinking and encourages us to extend the timeline for the impact we have, rather than optimizing for near-term wins,” he wrote in his post. “We should take on the challenges that will be the most impactful, even if the full results won’t be seen for years.”

The meeting comes as employees confront the company’s rapid shift away from the social media business it has spent decades building. Engineers at Instagram and Facebook have reportedly been encouraged to apply for jobs in the metaverse and artificial reality departments at the company, and Meta has hired thousands of new workers from rival companies such as Apple.

Employees are not the only ones spooked by the changes: investors seem wary as well. Meta’s stocks took a historic plunge following its most recent earnings report, leading the company to lose more than $230bn in market value.

But Zuckerberg has appeared to remain steadfast in his belief that the metaverse is a worthy venture, and has invested $10bn in the project already. In a recent earnings call, he assured investors: “I’m pleased with the momentum and the progress that we’ve made so far and I’m confident these are the right investments for us to focus on going forward.”

Meta not only changed internal rules but also external branding. It said Tuesday it had rebranded the News Feed – one of its best-known products – changing the name to simply “Feed”.

It also announced on Tuesday it had officially acquired Kustomer, a customer service management platform (the acquisition had been in the works since it was announced in November 2020).

Starting today, our News Feed will now be known as "Feed." Happy scrolling! pic.twitter.com/T6rjO9qzFc

— Facebook App (@facebookapp) February 15, 2022

The flurry of rebrands on Tuesday comes after Meta settled one of its many controversies this week – a decade-old class action lawsuit over the company’s use of “cookies” in 2010 and 2011 that tracked people online even after they logged off the Facebook platform.

As part of the proposed settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, Meta has agreed to delete all the data it “wrongfully collected” during that period. The company, which posted profits of $39.37bn in 2021, will also pay $90m to users who filed a claim, after lawyer fees are deducted.

“Reaching a settlement in this case, which is more than a decade old, is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders and we’re glad to move past this issue,” said a Meta spokesperson, Drew Pusateri, in a statement on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Kari Paul

The GuardianTramp

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