Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook Inc, has announced that the firm will now be called as Meta Platforms Inc, or Meta for short, in order to emphasise its dedication to constructing the immersive digital environment known as the metaverse.

In a live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference, Zuckerberg said the new name represented the company’s efforts investing in the metaverse rather than its eponymous social networking site.

“We’ve learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we’ve learned and help build the next chapter,” Zuckerberg said.

“I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same, still about bringing people together, our apps and their brands, they’re not changing,” he added.

Zuckerberg said the name Facebook no longer encompasses everything the company does. “Today we are seen as a social media company,” Zuckerberg said. “But in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people.”

Facebook the app is not changing its name, nor are Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company’s chief executive and senior leadership, its corporate structure also won’t change. But on December 1, its stock will start trading under a new ticker symbol, MVRS.

The metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 dystopian novel “Snow Crash” in which people don virtual reality headsets to interact inside a game-like digital world.

Zuckerberg has described metaverse as a “virtual environment” you can go inside of, instead of just looking at on a screen. People can meet, work and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.

According to Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies, it also will incorporate other aspects of online life such as shopping and social media.

Zuckerberg said that he expects the metaverse to reach a billion people within the next decade and that he hopes the new technology will creates millions of jobs for creators.

In an interesting twist, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organisation run by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, bought a Canadian scientific literature analysis company called Meta in 2017.

The iconic thumbs-up sign that has long been outside the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, was repainted to a blue, pretzel-shape logo resembling an infinity symbol.