Mark Zuckerberg is planning to change the name of the parent company - Facebook and is slated to announce the rebranding with a new name at the company's annual conference on 28th October, acording to media reports.
The news of Facebook rebranding with a new name was first reported by The Verge, who cited the source with "direct knowledge of the matter". There has been no official announcement by the company.
Facebook has sizeable plans to foray into the metaverse space extending the company's footprint from social media and digital platforms to virtual reality and more. The company will be investing USD 50 Mn in global research and program partners and will be collaborating with industry partners, policymakers, and experts for further development of the metaverse.
The development of metaverse was first announced by Mark Zuckerberg with a Facebook post, and now the company has allocated funds, initiated programs, and partnered with organizations to build the next computing platform. The metaverse will be a set of virtual spaces replicating the real world, where users can work, hang out, or play online. Facebook states many of the products in the metaverse will require 10-15 years to be built.
Facebook is associating with experts in government, academia, and industry and involving rights communities to build interoperability across services from different companies and make the platform comprehensive. The company recently also announced a plan to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years, for the development of metaverse.
But Facebook's big plans are haunted by the company's deteriorating brand reputation to the point that there may be no going back. The company has always been in the news for data breaches, and users' personally identifiable information being at risk or on sale, but recent findings have seriously harmed the company's reputation.
Starting with a series of reports published by The Wall Street Journal citing internal company reports and leaked documents. "Facebook’s AI can’t consistently identify first-person shooting videos, racist rants and even, in one notable episode that puzzled internal researchers for weeks, the difference between cockfighting and car crashes" one of the reports states. The documents found that Facebook only removes a low single-digit percentage of posts that violate its rules.
Also Read: What caused Facebook’s global outage?
Other reports by WSJ that found Instagram was harmful to the mental health of teenage girls contributed to Instagram pausing the launch of Instagram Kids.
This was followed by Frances Haugen, a former product manager on the civic integrity team at Facebook, revealing her identity as a Facebook whistleblower who came forward with a series of findings and said Facebook prioritized "growth over safety".
Some of the revelations included documents that show that celebrities, politicians, and high profile Facebook users were treated differently by the company; Facebook's 5 Bn USD payment to the FTC to resolve the Cambridge Analytica scandal was so high because it was designed to protect Mark Zuckerberg from personal liability; 32% of teenage girls surveyed said they felt bad about their bodies and Instagram made them feel worse.
Haugen's complaint against Facebook also mentions the company "promotes global division and ethnic violence" and “fear-mongering” content promoted by religious and political groups that were a part of an undated internal company document called ‘Adversarial Harmful Networks – India Case Study’ show the company is well aware of the religious hate speech.
Such reports coming in the daylight, along with WhatsApp privacy concerns that recently cropped up in India, FTC issuing an amended complaint against Facebook with additional evidence, claiming that the social network has maintained a monopoly through unfair practices, and more reputational hazards are speculated to be the reason for rebranding before the company forays into building a metaverse.