What will Facebook’s new name be?
The social giant, amid one of the worst PR crises in its 17-year history, is expected to announce a new name before the end of the month, according to a report by tech-news site The Verge, citing an anonymous source.
Facebook’s new name is supposed to reflect CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s positioning of the company as moving beyond social media — into a developer of virtual “metaverse” experiences, per The Verge.
Zuckerberg plans to talk about the new name at the Facebook Connect conference on Oct. 28, but the new corporate name could be announced before then, according to The Verge report. Facebook is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Monday, Oct. 25, after the market closes.
On the company’s Q2 earnings call in July, Zuckerberg sketched out his vision for the “metaverse” — an open, virtual environment where you can share experiences with other people — that will be the successor to today’s mobile internet. He said it will be the “ultimate expression” of social technology and predicted that Facebook will be seen in the future as a “metaverse” company, not a social-media company.
Conveniently, a corporate name change would give Facebook the opportunity to introduce a new narrative about itself amid intense scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators about its alleged harms. Facebook’s business practices have drawn an even bigger spotlight after recent accusations by an ex-employee whistleblower, who said the company has prioritized profits over safety (allegations that Zuckerberg has denied).
Just today, Zuckerberg was added as a defendant in a complaint over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that the DC attorney general filed against Facebook in 2018, while the U.K. antitrust authority fined Facebook £50.5 million ($69.1 million) for breaching an order during the regulator’s ongoing investigation into Facebook’s $400 million acquisition of Giphy.
Such a corporate rebranding has happened before the tech space. Most notably, in 2015, Google adopted Alphabet as the name of the parent holding company. Similarly, Facebook’s new corporate name would encompass its individual apps and business units, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Facebook declined to comment on The Verge report.