Facebook — whose latest scandal is its admission that it’s allowed users to share information about human smuggling — is set to reveal a corporate rebranding at its annual Connect conference on Oct. 28, if not sooner.
The coming name change is likely to be intended to tie the images of the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a focus on building the “metaverse,” a source with direct knowledge of the matter told The Verge.
Facebook declined to comment on the report.
A rebranding that positioned Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other holdings under a new umbrella name might also be meant to help address the increasingly negative perceptions of the Facebook brand.
In addition to facing pressure from U.S. and other antitrust regulators, the long-running controversy around the company’s content policies and actions hit new levels earlier this month when former Facebook executive Frances Haugen leaked a trove of damaging internal documents and publicly accused the company of consistently opting for profits over the public good.
In recent days, the company admitted to allowing Facebook users “to share information about how to enter a country or illegally or request information about how to be smuggled” after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote Zuckerberg to ask about reports that drug cartels and other human smugglers use Facebook to advertise their services to would-be migrants.
Facebook’s metaverse push has to date included releasing AR glasses and other hardware, naming its AR/VR chief Andrew Bosworth chief technology officer, and setting up a dedicated metaverse team.
Zuckerberg will presumably shed more light on the meaning of and vision for the so-far-vague metaverse concept — as well as reveal the new corporate name — in the upcoming announcement.