October 28, 2021

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 492 words, a 2-minute read.

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1 big thing: Facebook goes Meta

A sign with a new logo and the name Meta is now displayed in front of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a sweeping vision for lifelike work and play online, and revealed a new corporate name — Meta — to signify the push beyond social media.

  • "Over time, I hope that we're seen as a metaverse company," Zuckerberg said in announcing the new name for the parent company. The app will remain Facebook.
  • "I used to love studying classics," he added. "The word 'meta' comes from the Greek word meaning 'beyond.' For me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build."

The big picture: Zuckerberg is setting a different course than Google did in 2015, when its parent became Alphabet, Axios managing tech editor Scott Rosenberg tells me.

  • Alphabet is dedicated to "moonshots" to discover the future.
  • Zuckerberg believes he knows where the future is headed — the VR/AR metaverse — and he says he’s betting the company on it by tying its name to the concept.

Between the lines: Zuckerberg tacitly acknowledged Facebook’s current problems but vowed to push forward, even as critics say the company should focus on shortcomings of existing products, Axios chief tech correspondent Ina Fried tells me.

  • Go deeper: How Facebook plans to build its metaverse.

2. Biden's Gen X pitch

President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi leave a meeting this morning with House Democrats. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden is appealing specifically to the sandwich voters of Generation X to get his monster spending packages through Congress.

  • "Millions of you are in the so-called 'sandwich generation,' who feel financially squeezed by raising a child and caring for an aging parent," Biden said today. 
  • Those voters tend to be swing voters, concentrated in the suburbs. They're crucial to midterms and tend to be women, Axios managing editor for politics Margaret Talev tells me.
Screenshot: MSNBC

Biden, now on his way to Rome, told House Dems this morning that his legacy will be on the line with votes on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

  • "I don’t think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week," he said, according to the source in the room.

Go deeper ... White House fact sheet.

3. Catch up quick

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Sweetgreen's IPO filings reveal it lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable, Axios Dan Primack reports.
  2. Violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border remained below the national average last year, an analysis by Axios' Russell Contreras found.

4. Parting shot: Team USA's Beijing gear

From left, snowboarder Jamie Anderson, bobsledder Aja Evans and alpine skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle model Team USA gear for Beijing. Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Ralph Lauren today unveiled buffalo plaid uniforms for Team USA to wear during the closing ceremony parade at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, AP reports.

  • The hooded, red-and-blue plaid puffer jackets are made of recycled polyester and recycled down.

Men will sport white fleece pants and women will wear navy fleece-lined leggings — all made of recycled polyester.