The CEO of social-media giant Meta, formerly Facebook, hopes to open a new chapter.
Facebook is over.
Tired of controversies and scandals, the tech tycoon last October decided to ride the metaverse trend, hyped as the future of the internet.
This virtual or alternative world, in which we will communicate through avatars and with the help of technological tools, is seen as the next big leap into the future of Zuckerberg and the social platforms he runs.
If this jump is rather a leap into the unknown — given the billions of dollars of losses that the investments in the idea have so far prompted — Zuckerberg believes strongly in it.
The proof: On June 9 Facebook will be buried. Then will rise Meta Platforms, which will completely replace the giant of social networks. On this day, the stock symbol FB, which represents Facebook, will be replaced by META, and the transformation will be complete.
FB No More. Now META.
“Meta Platforms, Inc. today announced that its Class A common stock will begin trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol META prior to market open on June 9, 2022,” the company said in a news release.
“This will replace the company’s current ticker symbol, FB, which has been used since its initial public offering in 2012.
“The new ticker symbol aligns with the company’s rebranding from Facebook to Meta, announced on October 28, 2021,” the Menlo Park, Calif., company said.
Holders need not take any action.
This change is the last piece of the Zuckerberg edifice to be put in place. Now, Facebook will be just a platform, like the company’s Instagram photo site and WhatsApp message service.
In February, Zuckerberg had launched the first crucial stage of the building by saying that from that point on, Facebook employees would be known as Metamates instead of Facebookers.
“Meta, Metamates, Me is about being good stewards of our company and mission,” Zuckerberg had said. “It’s about the sense of responsibility we have for our collective success and to each other as teammates. It’s about taking care of our company and each other.”
The company’s motto also changed and became “Meta, Metamates, Me.”
But the firm’s projects related to this immersive world would have “significant” financial losses over three to five years, Zuckerberg told shareholders at the annual meeting on May 25. Holders should brace themselves for additional losses linked to the metaverse.
The division of Facebook working on this virtual universe, Reality Labs, which includes augmented and virtual-reality-related consumer hardware, software and content, posted a $2.96 billion loss on revenue of $695 million for the first quarter.
Reality Labs lost $10.2 billion in 2021, more than double the operating losses recorded in 2020 — $4.62 billion. In 2019, the operating loss was $4.5 billion.
FAANG Is Dead. MAANG?
“When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect,” the company said. “Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world.”
Now, “Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
The change comes at a tricky time for the social media giant. In April Meta reported 2.94 billion monthly active users worldwide. But its stock fell 42% this year through May. At last check it was trading around $192.
The birth of Meta also means the end of the famous FAANG acronym: Facebook, Apple (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report, Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, Netflix (NFLX) – Get Netflix, Inc. Report and Google (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report. Investors will now have to get used to MAANG.
For Zuckerberg, the stake is beyond the immediate economic aspect of the metaverse. He hopes to bring a fresh start to the group and users, especially with regard to Gen Z, who may not be familiar with the scandals that have rocked the company.
These include the case of the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which collected data from millions of Facebook profiles and used the information to help the presidential campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump, who went on to win the presidency in 2016.
The company apologized for its role in the data harvesting and Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress.
Three years later, Facebook reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission whereby the company would pay a $5 billion penalty over privacy violations.
Arguably the biggest blow to the company came last year from Frances Haugen, a former product manager, who revealed herself as the whistleblower behind a series of documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal.
Haugen, who would later testify before Senate lawmakers, accused the social media giant of putting profits over the impact of hate speech.
Facebook denied the allegations, stating that “to suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true. … We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content.”