Facebook is planning on changing its name as part of the rebranding of the company.
As per sources, the tech giant’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg intends to announce the name change during a company event in the following week.
Facebook released a statement saying it “doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation”.
The move will include changing the name of its holding company but the name of its eponymous social media platform —known internally as the ‘big blue app’ — will remain unchanged.
According to reports, the new name for the holding company could potentially be related to Horizon, a word used in at least two virtual reality products that the company is developing.
The reason behind the rebranding of the company is said to be the company’s plan to separate itself from the Cambridge Analytica scandal which is the most damaging PR crisis the company suffered three years ago. On top of it, an ex-employee Frances Haugen has also leaked tens of thousands of documents from Facebook and provided a damning testimony to US senators claiming that the social media company put “astronomical profits before people”.
According to reports, VR has pushed the mooted name change as the company works on creating a “metaverse” as the cornerstone of a new growth strategy. The announcement regarding the rebranding is expected to be made at the company’s annual product conference, Connect, on 28 October.
THE key products in the metaverse are the Oculus products. It is a loosely defined concept that revolves around people leading their professional and social lives while interacting with others through VR headsets and via augmented reality, where a digital layer is placed on top of real life, as in the popular Pokémon Go game.
The company is developing a social virtual reality platform known as Horizon Worlds and a virtual-reality meeting service called Horizon Workrooms. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs, has said that he has started attending his Monday morning meetings in the metaverse with a virtual table and a whiteboard.
Facebook claims that the company has just below 2.8 billion daily users for its products. However, Zuckerberg is famous for his focus on growth as he fears that Facebook could be superseded by a digital upstart at any moment.
Facebook’s shares have seen positive growth this year as the value increased by 25% since January. The increase in share price allows the company – which makes a huge portion of its money from advertisers targeting its consumer base – a valuation of just below $1tn (£730m). It must be noted that the share price has dropped below its September peak.
Facebook has mounting pressure ever since Haugen the former Facebook product manager, revealed to the US Congress that the company was harming children and destabilizing democracies. Haugen is responsible for leaking a number of documents to the Wall Street Journal, which also includes data showing that 30% of teenage girls felt Instagram made dissatisfaction with their bodies worse.
Zuckerberg attempted to def3end his company by writing in a post, “At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and wellbeing. That’s just not true.”
The company is already fighting a number of regulatory and legislative battles which include the US competition regulator that attempted to force a breakup of the business. Facebook was fined $5bn by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2019 for “deceiving” its users regarding its ability to keep personal information private, after a year-long investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data breach, where a UK analysis firm harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters.
If Facebook goes ahead with its rebranding it won’t be the first. In 2015, Google rebranded itself as Alphabet, showing its determination to break into new directions in tech including self-driving cars.