Social media platform, Facebook may rebrand and change to a new group name that focuses on the metaverse by next week.
Reuters quoted The Verge, which cited a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up the metaverse, a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment, since July, and the group has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets and working on AR glasses and wristband technologies.
The move is expected to position the flagship app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing brands such as Instagram and WhatsApp, according to the report. Google adopted such a structure when it reorganised into a holding company called Alphabet in 2015.
Facebook, however, according to Reuters said it does not comment on “rumour or speculation.”
The report said if the news is true, the rebranding would make sense as the core Facebook business becomes less important to the group and it seeks to revamp an image tarnished by regulatory and legal scrutiny of how it handles user safety and hate speech, analysts said.
“It reflects the broadening out of the Facebook business. And then, secondly, I do think that Facebook’s brand is probably not the greatest given all of the events of the last three years or so,” Internet Analyst James Cordwell at Atlantic Equities said.
Facebook is under wide-ranging scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators over its content moderation practices and harms linked to its platforms, with internal documents leaked by a whistleblower forming the basis for a U.S. Senate hearing last week.
“Having a different parent brand will guard against having this negative association transferred into a new brand, or other brands that are in the portfolio,” said Shankha Basu, associate professor of marketing at University of Leeds.
Last month, Facebook appointed Andrew Bosworth, who heads up the social media company’s augmented reality and virtual reality efforts, including products like its Oculus Quest VR headset, as chief technology officer.
Metaverse, first coined in a dystopian novel three decades earlier, is popular in Silicon Valley and has been referenced by other tech firms such as Microsoft. The popular children’s game Roblox (RBLX.N) describes itself as a metaverse company. Epic Games’ Fortnite is also considered to be part of the metaverse.
The Verge said Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company’s yearly Connect conference on Oct. 28, but it could be unveiled sooner.Follow us on social media