Facebook on Thursday changed its corporate name to Meta. However, the change will apply only to the parent company and individual platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram will retain their names.

In a briefing, the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said that Meta refers to a technology called “metaverse” a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices.

Zuckerberg also unveiled a new logo at the company’s headquarters in the United States’ California, replacing the thumbs-up “Like” with a blue infinity shape.

The Facebook chief executive officer said that the existing brand could not “possibly represent everything that we are doing today, let alone in the future”, and this needed to change.

“From now on, we are going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first,” he said.

However, experts say the move appears to be an attempt by the company to refurbish the brand as it faces a series of public relations crises. Former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of documents and accused the company of putting “profits over safety”.

In India, the revelations have put Facebook under the scanner for influencing elections and not doing enough to deal with hate speech and misinformation on the platform. The social media company has also been accused of allowing high-profile users to violate its own rules aimed at moderating content.

Prashant Malaviya, a marketing professor at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, told Reuters that the plan to phase out the name Facebook shows that the company wants to prevent scrutiny on the rest of its apps.

“Without a doubt, [the Facebook name] is definitely damaged and toxic,” he said.

Marketing consultant Laura Ries told the AP that the move is reminiscient of energy company BP rebranding itself to “Beyond Petroleum” to escape criticism that it harmed the environment.

“Facebook is the world’s social media platform, and they are being accused of creating something that is harmful to people and society,” she said. “They can’t walk away from the social network with a new corporate name and talk of a future metaverse.”