acebook is planning to change the name of its company, according to a US media report, days after the social media giant announced it was starting work on a project to rethink the internet with a so-called “metaverse.”
To allow the company to focus on this new virtual world for communication and commerce, the company is set to change its name in the coming week, the US website The Verge reported on Wednesday, citing a source with direct knowledge of the plans.
The tech news website, known for breaking stories from inside Silicon Valley, said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is expected to talk about the name change at the company’s Connect conference on October 28.
The change is said to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than just social media. However it also comes after numerous scandals that have tarnished the Facebook brand in recent years.
According to the report, the group’s rebrand would likely position the Facebook platform as one of many products under a parent company that oversees groups such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more. Facebook initially declined to comment.
As such, the repositioning of Facebook as one of many metaverse projects would follow a similar move from Google with its Alphabet parent company in 2015.
On Monday, Facebook announced plans to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs in the European Union over the next five years to build the metaverse virtual world.
The emphasis is on virtual experiences that make the internet a place where not only see and click on things, but where we also feel more physically immersed.
Reflecting the new nature of working since the start of the pandemic, Facebook says the metaverse will be a set of virtual spaces where users “can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”
Something of a buzzword in Silicon Valley, the word “metaverse” itself is not from Facebook, and comes from the American writer Neal Stephenson, who first used it in 1992 in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash”.
Facebook also says much of the metaverse will need 10-15 years to be fully developed.
After numerous scandals over issues such as the company’s role in the manipulation of democratic processes to massive data leaks leading to users being hacked, the tech giant has been under further pressure internationally in recent weeks following whisteblower leaks.
A former Facebook product manager in early October accused the company of, among other things, not being sufficiently transparent about the potential for the online network to cause harm.