What happened

Facebook (META -2.70%) stock took off Thursday afternoon, rising 3.6% as of 3:10 p.m. EDT after the company made a big announcement that up till now had only been rumored.

Pretty soon, Facebook won't be "Facebook" anymore. It'll be "Meta" instead.

Meta Logo that resembles an infinity sign.

Image source: Facebook. Er, Meta.

So what

You heard that right. The company that basically defined the concept of "the social network" (I hear they even made a movie about it) is pivoting away from plain vanilla social media and forging ahead in a new direction, entering the metaverse.

So what exactly is a metaverse? As the company explained this afternoon:  

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. [And] it's the next evolution in a long line of social technologies...

And while no one company actually has a metaverse up and operational just yet, Facebook has decided that it will be the first, and dominate this new frontier.

Now what

Give Facebook credit: For a company that has done so exceedingly well as a social media company, growing basically tenfold in value from its May 2012 IPO up until its recent "Facebook Files" troubles, Facebook isn't being one bit shy in its commitment to its new business model.

Not only does Facebook plan to build a metaverse, and not only has it committed to spending $10 billion on the effort this year alone. Facebook is so committed to this venture that it is changing its name to Meta, changing its corporate logo, and committing to put all of "Facebook's apps and technologies under [this] one new company brand."

It's a bold move, and judging by how the stock is moving this afternoon, it's a move investors approve of.