Facebook Plans to Rebrand Company With Mystery Name Change

Founder Mark Zuckerberg is determined to turn Facebook into “the Metaverse.”

Mark Zuckerberg presenting at Facebook conference
Mark Zuckerberg / Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images

Stand by for your elderly relatives who only know how to use one website to freak out: Facebook is getting a name change.

The change is happening next week, reports The Verge, when CEO and FB founder Mark Zuckerberg addresses the change at the social media giant’s October 28 “Connect” conference. While it’s likely that the change will be akin to Google renaming its parent company “Alphabet,” this is about moving beyond mere social media.

Verge has more:

The coming name change (…) is meant to 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. A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment for this story.

Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees building consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as ubiquitous as smartphones. In July, he told The Verge that, over the next several years, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”

The Verge makes the point that a company rebranding could also put some daylight between Zuckerberg’s newer projects like Oculus or Ray-Ban Stories as well as new versions of its Portal device (like the Portal Go, a clear challenger to Amazon’s Echo device) and Facebook itself, which has been under heavy scrutiny for the role the social media site plays in national and international affairs.

It might also be a welcome distraction from the bombshell documents released via the Wall Street Journal after FB whistleblower Frances Haugen came forward to shed light on the company’s internal data and practices.

As for just what the name change might be, that’s a total mystery, according to The Verge, “even among [Facebook’s] full senior leadership.”

“Metaverse” seems like the obvious choice, given how often Zuckerberg has dropped the term lately. The word has its origins in science fiction and it usually means a fully-realized digital world. A Twitter user noted the word’s dystopian origins and Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey couldn’t help but use this as an opportunity to troll Mark Zuckerberg:

There doesn’t appear to be a site at metaverse.com even though it was an active address till 2020. The Verge suggests, however, that “a possible name could have something to do with Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the company has been developing for the past few years.”

We’ll know for sure when Mark Zuckerberg talks about his company’s way forward on October 28.

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Deputy Digital Editor, Maxim.com