Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its commitment to building the metaverse, The Verge reports.
Citing “a source with direct knowledge of the matter”, the report says that the move signals an intent by the company to be known for more than social media and its associated baggage. It says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will announce the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on 28 October, and that under the plans, the Facebook brand would most likely continue as one of a number of sub-brands, also including Instagram and Oculus, under a new parent company. It sounds not dissimilar to the way Google reorganised itself with the creation of Alphabet in 2015. Facebook declined to comment on the story.
Over the weekend, Facebook announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs in the EU over the next five years to build the metaverse, a virtual online world where people can work, play and socialise with each other, often with the help of virtual reality headsets. Or that’s how most people see it anyway.
Some commentators see the move partly as an attempt by Facebook to deflect attention from some of the current scandals in which it is embroiled. Two weeks ago, Facebook, together with Instagram, Oculus and Messenger, were hit by a near 6-hour global outage. The company is also dealing with the fallout from revelations from former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen. She leaked a serious of internal documents that cast the company in a bad light to The Wall Street Journal, then subsequently testified about them to the US Senate. In her testimony, she described Facebook as “morally bankrupt”.