The social media giant Facebook has changed its company name to Meta in a major shake-up.

Facebook said the new name better encapsulates what it is doing as it expands its reach beyond social media to areas such as virtual reality and the metaverse.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new name when he announced plans to build a “Metaverse” – an online world where people can play, work and communicate using VR headsets in a virtual environment.

“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” he said in a virtual conference.

The word “meta” is derived from the Greek word meaning “beyond.”

The rename does not apply to its individual platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, but only to the parent company to which it belongs.

The renaming comes after a series of negative publicity on Facebook based on secret documents leaked by an ex-employee who later became a whistleblower.

Facebook intends to trade its shares under the new stock ticker MVRS from December 1.