Social media giant Facebook is reportedly planning to change its name next week, as part of its new focus on building the metaverse. According to a report by The Verge, the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, will announce the new name at Facebook’s Connect conference on October 28, but it may be revealed sooner as well. With the name change, the Facebook app will likely become one of the products owned by the company, just like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more.
Zuckerberg had informed investors of his plans to focus on building metaverse technologies during the company’s second quarter earnings call this year. Zuckerberg has also said that the concept of the metaverse is bigger than Facebook and that the virtual world he and other tech giants want to build will exist regardless of whether Facebook does.
The move sounds similar to Google’s shift to Alphabet back in 2015. As part of the rebrand, the company made its Search product, which is Google, the largest asset under the new Alphabet brand. “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one,” Larry Page, then CEO of Alphabet and one of the founders of Google, wrote in a blog post at the time. “As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make ‘smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.’ From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have,” he added.
Much like Google, Facebook has bets in various sectors. This includes its purchase of WhatsApp back in 2014. Between Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook has been vetting on the growth of instant messaging, while the Oculus brands researches and creates virtual reality products. The company also partnered with eye-glass maker Ray Ban last month to launch the Ray Ban Stories augmented reality (AR) spectacles.
Not only that, taking cues from Google and Amazon, Facebook also has its own smart speakers, under the Portal brand. The company has also revealed cutting edge robotics research, along with investments in ambient computing technology, like a wrist-based controller that senses the electrical signals human brains send to our hands through neurons.
Subsequently, the social media giant has also been embroiled in controversy about how it operates its platform. Whistleblower Frances Haugen had turned over internal documents to the Wall Street Journal, which has led to questions being asked about whether Facebook treats its users equally. Haugen also testified in front of the US Congress, and Facebook’s own Oversight Board is also going to speak to her. Antitrust regulators in the US have also been trying to split Facebook and its subsidiaries.