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Rebranding as Meta, Facebook emphasizes VR future over crisis-beset present

Facebook’s new corporate name, Meta, is a nod to the “metaverse,” a concept from science fiction that combines virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

In a move that signals the company’s growing focus on augmented and virtual reality projects, Facebook — which owns the photo sharing app Instagram, the virtual reality company Oculus and the messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as its namesake social network — will now be known as Meta.

The new name is a nod to the idea of the “metaverse,” a concept trendy in Silicon Valley that encompasses a mix of physical, virtual and mixed realities that users can access and interact with through devices such as a virtual reality headset or mixed-reality glasses.

“I believe the metaverse is the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company, too,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, in a Thursday morning media event in which he announced the rebrand as well as various metaverse-related projects the company has in the works.

The term metaverse first appeared in the 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash.” The concept also played a central role in the “Ready Player One” franchise.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.