If you want to find the stock price of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, typing the familiar “FB” ticker on your favorite search engine, brokerage firm app or financial news site (hopefully this one!) will soon give you an error message or redirect.
That’s because the company formerly known as Facebook (FB) will no longer use the “FB” symbol it’s had since its 2012 initial public offering. Instead, it will be trading under the new symbol of “META” as of Thursday.
The new ticker comes a few months after Facebook officially changed its corporate name to Meta Platforms. The Meta moniker is a reflection of the social media giant’s pivot to the metaverse, with virtual worlds becoming an increasingly important part of the future for the owner of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
As the company describes it, Facebook is “moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
Initially, the company said it would change its ticker symbol in December 2021 to “MVRS,” a vowel-deficient version of Metaverse.
Why not “META”? Meta Platforms was originally unable to announce that it would use “META” as its new symbol, because there already was an exchange-traded fund that had that ticker: the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF.
That ETF, as its name implies, invests in companies with exposure to the metaverse. In fact, Meta Platforms is its top holding. It also owns gaming chip giant Nvidia (NVDA), video game platform Roblox and Microsoft (MSFT).
This story should end here — but Meta Platforms clearly really, really wanted to have the “META” ticker for itself.
Meta Platforms announced in November that it was postponing the ticker change to this year. It didn’t give a reason for the change. Then, in mid-January, Roundhill said it was changing the ticker of its metaverse ETF to “METV.” That took effect at the end of January. Roundhill also didn’t give a reason for the change.
Roundhill and Meta Platforms may have held discussions about letting the social media giant get the coveted “META” ticker. Meta Platforms and Roundhill were not immediately available for comment.
Facebook’s transition to Meta Platforms has been a rocky one. The stock has plummeted more than 40% this year as investors wonder if the strategy shift will pay off. Roundhill’s metaverse ETF has also plunged about 40%.
Concerns about slowing user growth, advertiser skittishness as the economy cools and emerging competition from TikTok have hurt Meta Platforms and other social media stocks, such as Snapchat (SNAP), Pinterest (PINS) and Twitte (TWTR)r.