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Facebook intends to rename and reinvent itself

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

According to a source with intimate knowledge of the situation, Facebook is going to alter its corporate name next week to reflect its focus on establishing the metaverse.

The upcoming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to discuss at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28th but could be announced sooner, is designed to signify the internet giant’s aim to be known for more than just social media and all of its associated problems.

The makeover would most likely present the blue Facebook app as one of many products managed by a parent business that also oversees Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and other companies. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.

Facebook currently has over 10,000 staff working on consumer devices such as augmented reality glasses, which Zuckerberg expects will become as common as smartphones.

A renaming might also help to further distinguish Zuckerberg’s futuristic work from the tremendous criticism Facebook is presently facing over its current social platform. Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower, recently revealed a cache of embarrassing internal documents to The Wall Street Journal and testified before Congress about them.

Antitrust regulators in the United States and internationally are attempting to break up Facebook, and public trust in the company’s operations is eroding.

Facebook isn’t the only well-known technology business to alter its name as its goals grow. Google reorganized altogether under the Alphabet holding company in 2015, partly to show that it was no longer just a search engine, but a global conglomerate with subsidiaries developing self-driving cars and health-care technology.

In 2016, Snapchat changed its name to Snap Inc., the same year it began referring to itself as a “camera company” and unveiled its first set of Spectacles camera spectacles.

Within Facebook’s gates, the new corporate name is a highly guarded secret that isn’t widely known, even within the firm’s whole senior leadership. Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the business has been creating for the past few years, may be a contender.

Shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration dubbed Horizon Workrooms, the app’s name was changed to Horizon Worlds.

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 told The Verge’s Casey Newton this summer. “And I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area.”

Complicating matters, even though Facebook has been extensively advertising the concept of the metaverse in recent weeks, it is still a little understood concept. Neal Stephenson, a science fiction novelist, created the word to depict a virtual environment where individuals can escape from a dismal actual world.

Now it’s being embraced by one of the world’s most powerful and divisive corporations, which will have to justify why its own virtual world is worth exploring.

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