According to the latest news, Facebook is apparently planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has planned to talk about this at the company’s annual Connect conference on 28th October. The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and others.
As of now, Facebook has more than 10,000 employees building consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as ubiquitous as smartphones. Last July, he told that over the next several years, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”
In this regard, a rebrand could also serve to further separate the futuristic work Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny of Facebook. A former employee turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, recently leaked a trove of damning internal documents to The Wall Street Journal and testified about them before Congress. Antitrust regulators in the US is trying to break the company up. Overall, the company faced a decline in public trust due to these issues.
It is to be noted that Facebook is not going to be the first well-known tech company to change its company name due to its expanding ambitions. In 2015, Google reorganized entirely under a holding company called Alphabet only to signal it is no longer just a search engine but a sprawling conglomerate with companies making driverless technology and health related tech. Similarly, in the year 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc.
Apart from Zuckerberg’s comments, Facebook has steadily laid the groundwork for a greater focus on next-generation technology. It now has a dedicated metaverse team. It took a couple of notable actions as well such as promoting the head of AR and VR, Andrew Bosworth to the position of chief technology officer.
Zuckerberg told 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.”
It is worth mention that even though Facebook has been heavily promoting the idea of the metaverse in the recent weeks, the concept is not well understood by normal people. The term “metaverse” was coined originally by sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson to describe a virtual world people escape to from a dystopian real world. We have to wait and see how it goes and how the company implies it.