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London (CNN Business) – Facebook plans to rebrand with a new name focused on the metaverse, website The Verge reported Tuesday. This comes as the tech giant comes under fire from regulators around the world for its business practices.
The company plans to announce the new name next week, The Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook wants to be known for more than just social media, according to the tech publication.
Facebook does not comment on rumors or speculation, a company spokesperson said in response to a question about the possible name change.
In addition to its flagship social network, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. A name change could position all three mega-platforms under one umbrella brand, similar to the structure used by Google, which is found under parent company Alphabet.
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The name change may reflect the Facebook address. The metaverse refers to efforts to combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm.
The idea is to create a space similar to the Internet, in which 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 remote colleagues, then walk to a virtual Starbucks to meet with a friend.
Facebook announced earlier this week that it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to work on creating the metaverse.
A strategy in the midst of the controversy surrounding Facebook
The rebrand could be part of an effort to renew Facebook’s reputation after a tsunami of bad news related to misinformation on its platforms, flaws in content moderation and disclosures about the negative effect of its products on health. mental of some users.
Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who worked at Facebook as a product manager, stated earlier this month that the company is aware that its platforms are used to spread hate and misinformation, but has not taken steps to prevent it. Facebook leaders have been criticized for allegedly choosing financial benefits over health, and lawmakers have drawn comparisons to Big Tobacco.
Facebook has aggressively rebutted the claims, calling many of them “misleading” and arguing that its apps do more good than harm.
The company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to discuss the name change at the company’s annual conference, Connect, on Oct. 28, The Verge reports.
A relatively small number of large companies have changed established brands.
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Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, the Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan, and the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. Social media company Snapchat changed its name to Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware.
Some high-level name changes have come after scandal or controversy in other cases. Philip Morris, the Marlboro maker, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.
Jill Disis contributed a feature story.