Zuckerberg reveals his vision for the future of Facebook

Cofounder and CEO of Facebook teases a series of new social, gaming and workplace concepts for the metaverse
Originally Published: 28 OCT 21 11:34 ET
Updated: 28 OCT 21 13:37 ET

(CNN) — Mark Zuckerberg, the cofounder and CEO of Facebook, kicked off a big product event on Thursday by teasing a series of new social, gaming and workplace concepts for the metaverse — and by acknowledging the optics of focusing on such products amid renewed scrutiny of the company.

“I know that some people will say that this isn’t a time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present. There always will be,” Zuckerberg said in a kickoff video ahead of his keynote. “So for many people, I’m just not sure there ever will be a good time to focus on the future. But I also know that there are a lot of you who feel the same way that I do.”

“We live for what we’re building,” Zuckerberg added. “And while we make mistakes, we keep learning and building and moving forward.”

Facebook livestreamed its eighth annual Connect event to unveil its latest innovations and research in augmented and virtual reality, and more on its vision for the metaverse, which refers to efforts that combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online platform.

Facebook showed a series of concept videos that highlighted its vision for metaverse, such as sending a holographic image of yourself to a concert with a friend attending in real life, sitting around virtual meeting tables with remote colleagues or playing immersive games with friends.

Zuckerberg also announced Messenger calling is coming to VR, plans to operate a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods and a new home screen in Oculus Quest to make chatting and games in the virtual world more social.

“Your devices won’t be the focal point of your attention anymore,” he said. “We’re starting to see a lot of these technologies coming together in the next five or 10 years. A lot of this is going to be mainstream and a lot of us will be creating and inhabiting worlds that are just as detailed and convincing as this one, on a daily basis.”

The company is also expected to reorganize its business under a new name and possibly change the title of its cofounder, Mark Zuckerberg, who will kick the event off with a keynote. The change could demote Facebook to just one of the company’s three major platforms — which also includes Instagram and WhatsApp — rather than the overarching brand.

The move would reflect the company’s mission to be known for more than social media and align with its growing focus on the metaverse. The Verge first reported the potential name change last week.

A rebranding could also be part of an effort to overhaul Facebook’s reputation and turn the page following a series of PR nightmares, including misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effects its products have on some users’ mental health.

On an earnings call in July, Zuckerberg teased the concept of the metaverse as a space similar to the internet where users (via digital avatars) can walk around and interact with one another in real time. ​​”In the coming years, I expect people will transition from seeing us primarily as a social media company to seeing us as a metaverse company,” he said on the call.

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