Facebook is reportedly planning to change its company name in the coming weeks as it moves into building “the metaverse,” and focuses on its future products and AR division. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to talk about the coming name change at Facebook’s annual ‘Connect Conference’ on 28 October.
The Verge reports that this name change could even come sooner than the yearly conference, and is a way for the company to signal its ambition to be known as more than just a “social media company.” The rebranding will likely see “Facebook” become the name of just the popular social media platform which will fall under the umbrella of the new company name, alongside apps like WhatsApp and Instagram and brands like Oculus, and others.
This move seems to have been in the mind of Zuckerberg for some time, in July he told The Verge 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.”
Facebook already has over 10,000 employees building consumer tech like AR glasses, devices that Zuckerberg believes will become as ubiquitous as smartphones in the near future. This could be the “the metaverse” he mentioned – augmented reality hardware and suites of AR software to go along with it.
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A rebranding may also help separate some of the recent controversies the company has earned from the futurism-minded products that Zuckerberg is focusing on. Facebook, and its social media platforms, have been under intense scrutiny lately as legislators and whistleblowers crackdown on its online policies which allegedly see the company pursue profits to the detriment of its users.
Tech firms rebranding at this scale isn’t unheard of. In 2015 Google reorganized under a holding company called ‘Alphabet’ partly because it wanted people to know it was more than just a search engine, it is also a massive tech conglomerate that manufactures driverless cars and health tech products.
In terms of what Facebook’s new name may be, The Verge writes that it is currently a “closely-guarded secret within its walls and not known widely, even among its full senior leadership.”
Speculations begin to abound, and Zuckerberg’s ‘metaverse’ clues could point to a name highlighting the company’s AR tech. Possibly something to do with ‘Horizon,’ the name of a yet-unreleased VR version of the Facebook platform it has been developing for the past few years. Another possible name could have something to do with the word ‘metaverse’ itself.