Facebook Inc, under fire from regulators and lawmakers over its business practices, is planning to rebrand itself with a new name that focuses on the metaverse, the Verge reported on Tuesday.
The name change will be announced next week, The Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter.
The move would likely 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 said it does not comment on “rumor or speculation.”
Facebook Chief Executive 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 company 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 buzzy word, 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 describes itself as a metaverse company. Epic Games’ Fortnite is also considered to be part of the metaverse.
Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on Oct 28, but it could be unveiled sooner, the Verge said.
The move would come at a time when 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 US Senate hearing last week.