MENLO PARK, CA — Wracked by reputational blows, Facebook announced Thursday it has changed its corporate name to Meta, creating a distance between the company and its beleaguered social media platform.

“Today at Connect 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which brings together our apps and technologies under one new company brand. Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses,” Facebook wrote in a post. 

“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company. Mark shared more about this vision in a founder’s letter,” the company said.

Meta will serve as the umbrella for the social network Facebook as well as Instagram and What’s App, all of which will keep their names.

The New York Times writes that the move signals the company’s plans to move beyond the social media platforms it was built on. In its third quarter earnings report Monday, the company announced it would separate its VR and AR business, Facebook Reality Labs, from its apps segment.

Critics, however, said the company — which is under intense fire for putting profits before safety — is in far too deep to regain public trust with a name change.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is among the harshest critics: "Meta as in 'we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society...for profit,'" she said in a tweet.