According to a person with firsthand knowledge of the situation, Facebook is preparing to alter its business name next week to reflect its focus on developing the metaverse.
The upcoming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to discuss at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28th but might be announced sooner, is supposed to symbolize the internet giant’s goal to be known for more than just social networking and all of its associated evils.
The redesign would most likely portray 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 spokesman declined to comment for this article.
Facebook currently has over 10,000 workers working on consumer devices such as augmented reality glasses, which Zuckerberg hopes will become as common as smartphones. In July, he told The Verge that “we will successfully shift from people perceiving us as being a social media business to being a metaverse company” over the next several years.
A makeover may also help to better distinguish Zuckerberg’s futuristic work from the tremendous criticism Facebook is now under over its current social network. Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower, recently released a cache of incriminating internal papers to The Wall Street Journal and testified before Congress about them. Antitrust regulators in the United States and abroad are attempting to break up Facebook, and public faith 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 restructured fully under the Alphabet holding company in 2015, partly to emphasize that it was no longer just a search engine, but a huge conglomerate with firms developing self-driving vehicles 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.
The new Facebook business name, I’m told, is a carefully guarded secret within the firm’s gates and isn’t generally known, even within the company’s complete top leadership. Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the firm has been building for the past few years, might be a contender. Shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration named Horizon Workrooms, the app’s name was changed to Horizon Worlds.
Apart from Zuckerberg’s remarks, Facebook has been slowly building the framework for a larger focus on future technologies. It established a specialized metaverse team this past summer. Andrew Bosworth, the company’s head of AR and VR, has recently been elevated to chief technology officer. Only a few days ago, Facebook announced intentions to hire 10,000 additional people in Europe to work on the metaverse.
The metaverse is “going to be a huge priority,” Zuckerberg told The Verge’s Casey Newton last summer. “I think that this is really going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet grows after the mobile internet.” “I also believe it will be the next great chapter for our firm, since we will be tripling down in this area.”
Complicating matters, even though Facebook has been actively marketing the concept of the metaverse in recent weeks, it is still a little understood concept. Neal Stephenson, a science fiction author, invented the phrase to depict a virtual environment where individuals may 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.