Facebook plans to change its name as Mark Zuckerberg tries to distance the company from 'intense scrutiny': report
Mark Zuckerberg (AFP)

Facebook reportedly plans to change its company name next week.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to discuss the name change at Facebook's annual Connect conference on Oct. 28, but it could be unveiled sooner, according to a report from the Verge. The name change will reflect the company's focus on "building the metaverse" and "signal the tech giant's ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail."

"The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more," the Verge reports. "A rebrand could also serve to further separate the futuristic work Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny Facebook is currently under for the way its social platform operates today. ... Facebook isn't the first well-known tech company to change its company name as its ambitions expand. In 2015, Google reorganized entirely under a holding company called Alphabet, partly to signal that it was no longer just a search engine, but a sprawling conglomerate with companies making driverless cars and health tech."

The company's new name reportedly is a closely guarded secret, but possibilities include something to do with Horizon, the unreleased virtual reality version of Facebook that's been under development for the last few years.

"Complicating matters is that, while Facebook has been heavily promoting the idea of the metaverse in recent weeks, it's still not a concept that's widely understood," the Verge reports. "The term was coined originally by sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson to describe a virtual world people escape to from a dystopian, real world. Now it's being adopted by one of the world's largest and most controversial companies — and it'll have to explain why its own virtual world is worth diving into."

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