Social media giant Facebook may be planning to rebrand itself with a new name next week, a report in The Verge said on Tuesday, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, but it could be unveiled sooner, the Verge reported.
In response, Facebook said it does not comment on “rumor or speculation." The news comes at a time when the company is facing increasing US government scrutiny over its business practices. Lawmakers from both parties have excoriated the company, illustrating the rising anger in Congress with Facebook.
The rebranding would position Facebook’s social media app as one of many products under a parent company, which will also oversee groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more, the Verge report added. The report also said that he new name is a closely-guarded secret within its walls and not known widely, even among its full senior leadership.
It’s not uncommon in the Silicon Valley for companies to change their names as they bid to expand their services.
Google established Alphabet as a holding company in 2015 to expand beyond its search and advertising businesses, to oversee various other ventures ranging from its autonomous vehicle unit and health technology to providing internet services in remote areas.
The move to rebrand will also reflect Facebook’s focus on building the so-called metaverse, an online world where people can use different devices to move and communicate in a virtual environment, according to the report.
Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps.
The company also announced plans on Tuesday to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years to help build the metaverse.
Zuckerberg has been talking up metaverse since July and the buzzy word, first coined in a dystopian novel three decades earlier, has been referenced by other tech firms such as Microsoft. 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," Zuckerberg had told The Verge earlier.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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