Facebook Inc. is rebranding itself with a new company name as early as next week, reports The Verge on Tuesday, 19 October, citing sources with internal knowledge on the matter.
The move is reportedly meant to reflect the company’s new ambitions beyond social media, with efforts now being focused on building the so-called metaverse. This rebrand will position Facebook, the social media platform, as one of the many products of the newly named parent company that will also have the likes of Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, among others, under the same roof.
At the same time, it could help Facebook divert attention away from the allegations of whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified in front of the U.S. Congress earlier this month about how the platform has been promoting hate speech and misinformation for its own gain.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to talk about this rebrand at the company’s annual Connect conference on Thursday, 28 October. The report, however, notes that it could also be unveiled sooner. Facebook declined The Verge’s request for comment.
The new company name is a closely guarded secret, according to the report. So much so that not even senior leadership knows about it. But a possible name could have something to do with Horizon Worlds, the virtual reality game that Facebook has been developing over the last couple of years. Facebook describes the game as a social virtual world, essentially combining elements of video games and social media together in one interactive experience.
This ties back to Facebook’s idea of a metaverse, which it says will be “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you”. Earlier this year, Facebook set up a dedicated metaverse team to start developing the idea. And just a few days ago, the social media giant announced plans to add 10,000 more employees in Europe to this team.
Zuckerberg previously told The Verge that the metaverse is “going to be a big focus, and I think that this is just going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet evolves after the mobile internet”.
“And I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area,” the Facebook chief added.
The concept of the metaverse, short for meta-universe, was coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson. The term refers to a virtual world where communities of people can connect and interact with each other as avatars.
Written by Kyle Chua