Today the company formerly known as Facebook doubled down on its metaverse-first identity, changing its Nasdaq ticker symbol from FB to META.
The rebrand did not bring about any immediate change in fortune for the social media giant’s beleaguered stock.
At market close on Thursday, the stock formerly known as FB fell 6.43% for the day. META is currently trading at $184.00, a number approaching the stock’s all-time-low of $174.95 reached late April.
Twitter users joked that whatever the cause of today’s price drop, the ticker change will be unlikely to remedy the myriad issues currently facing the company:
I’m sure this will solve all of their problems.
— Ben Matasar (@matasar) June 9, 2022
In late October, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s name change to Meta, a rebranding that underscored the company’s commitment to the still-nascent metaverse as the future core of its business.
The metaverse is the concept of an immersive collection of digital spaces and worlds navigated by internet users via 3D avatars. Many developers, including Zuckerberg, believe the metaverse will become the future hub of work, shopping, entertainment, and social interaction.
The rebranding also happened to coincide with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s stark testimony earlier that month before the U.S. Senate, in which the former employee alleged numerous ways in which the social media giant permitted and algorithmically encouraged hate speech and fake news.
Markets have been cool to the company’s shift in focus. Since the announcement in October, Meta’s stock has fallen almost 42%. In February, it dropped 26% in a single day, on the heels of a Q4 2021 earnings report that revealed stagnant user growth as the company shifted its resources to metaverse-related ambitions.
Today’s stock drop comes during what has been a difficult quarter for the stock market generally, and for crypto-related companies specifically. The Nasdaq was down 2.75% today; Meta’s drop was more than double that.
Does today’s drop imply a further loss of confidence in Zuckerberg’s metaverse pivot? Or is it merely the practical result of the symbol change itself, a logistical hurdle that can impact trading volume? Financial news service Barrons noted today that researchers had found a “significant reduction in trading volume” tends to follow a ticker change.