Sadly, the name isn't evidence of some newfound self-awareness on the part of Zuck. Instead, it's a reference to the "metaverse," a term used to describe a virtual environment accessible through the internet.
The new moniker, announced by Zuckerberg during a keynote presentation on Thursday, only affects the company's corporate identity. Facebook, the service, will keep its name and place alongside the company's other products, WhatsApp and Instagram.
"Today we're seen as a social media company, but in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people," Zuckerberg said during the presentation.
"And the metaverse is the next frontier, just like social networking was when we got started."
For Zuckerberg, the metaverse hinges on virtual reality.
According to the CEO, Meta plans to launch a marketplace for selling virtual goods (NFTS, perhaps?), and update the Oculus Quest to facilitate virtual social interactions.
The rebranding appears to be part of an attempt to smooth over several recent controversies surrounding Facebook and Instagram.
Content moderators for the social media platform have also spoken out about poor workplace conditions that require employees to view large quantities of violent content, without receiving adequate mental health support.
In September, the Wall Street Journal reported on internal research conducted by Facebook showing the adverse effect Instagram has on teens' mental health. The report compounds longstanding suspicion that the app could exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Just one month after the Journal's findings were published, Zuckerberg announced plans to change Facebook's name. The move was widely derided as a thinly veiled attempt to distract from the company's tarnished reputation.
The cherry on top of Facebook's PR nightmare, whistleblower Francis Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, testified that the company knowingly harms children and democracy in pursuit of profit.
Taken out of context, Meta isn't a horrible name. It's the circumstances surrounding the change — misinformation, mistreatment, and all — that make it "Zuck" so hard.
Facebook might have a new name, but it's grappling with the same old problems.