Launder (CNN Business) – The Verge website reported Tuesday that Facebook plans to rebrand it with a new name focused on the metaverse. It comes as the tech giant is under fire from regulators around the world over its business practices.
The company plans to announce the new name next week, I mentioned The Verge, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. According to the technology publication, Facebook wants to be known for more than just social media.
When asked about a possible name change, a company spokesperson said that Facebook does not comment on rumors or speculation.
In addition to its main social network, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. A name change could bring all three massive platforms under one brand, similar to the structure used by Google, which is governed by parent company Alphabet.
The name change may reflect the Facebook address. The metaverso Refers to efforts to combine virtual reality and augmented reality technologies in a new online world.
The idea is to create a space similar to the Internet, where users (through digital avatars) can walk and interact with each other in real time. In theory, users could sit around a virtual meeting table with their distant colleagues, then go to a virtual Starbucks to meet a friend.
Facebook announced earlier this week that it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to work on creating the metaverse.
A strategy amid the controversy over Facebook
The rebranding could be part of an effort to renew Facebook’s reputation after a tsunami of bad news regarding misinformation on its platforms, flaws in content moderation, and disclosures about the negative impact its products have on the mental health of some users.
Frances Hogan, a whistleblower who worked at Facebook as a product manager, said earlier this month that the company is aware that its platforms are being used to spread hate and misinformation, but has not taken steps to prevent this. Facebook leaders have been criticized for allegations that they choose profit over health, and lawmakers have drawn comparisons to big tobacco companies.
Facebook has vigorously refuted these allegations, calling many of them “misleading” and arguing that its apps do more good than harm.
The company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is set to discuss the name change at the company’s annual conference, Connect, on October 28, The Verge reports.
A relatively small number of large companies have changed established brands.
Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Japanese car brand became Datsun Nissan, and the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. The social media company Snapchat changed its name to Snap in 2016 to reflect its intrusion into devices.
Some high-profile name changes have occurred after scandal or controversy in other instances. For example, Marlboro maker Philip Morris changed its name to Altria, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.
Jill Desis contributed to the story.
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