Facebook is reportedly changing its name. This might be a good move, considering how the company has been struggling with a lot of controversies for the past couple of years.
Sources told The Verge that Facebook is looking to change its company name next week. The coming name change is being planned to be talked about at the firm’s annual Connect conference on October 28th by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. However, the name change could be unveiled sooner, said the report.
According to The Verge, a possible name could have something to do with Horizon, which is the name of the still-unreleased VR (Virtual Reality) version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the firm has been developing for the past few years. The name of the app was recently tweaked to Horizon Worlds shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration called Horizon Workrooms.
Why The Change?
Zuckerberg is looking to transition Facebook from being a social media company to a metaverse company. Earlier in July, Zuckerberg told The Verge, 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.”
Zuckerberg thinks the metaverse is the “ultimate expression of social technology,” and he is serious about it. A couple of days ago, the social media giant announced plans to hire 10,000 more employees to work on the metaverse in Europe. The company is doubling its efforts in metaverse, as Zuckerberg thinks “it’s going to be the next big chapter for the company.”
Even though Zuckerberg has been emphasising that the future of Facebook is the metaverse for a while, the timing of this report is interesting. Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s reputation has been going downhill. Several regulators around the world have been after the company for years because of its alleged anticompetitive practices, and concerns around data security.
Recently, whistle-blower Frances Haugen, who is a former Facebook employee, shared thousands of company documents with regulators and The Wall Street Journal. The documents detailed the firm’s struggle with moderating its content and alleged how Instagram deeply affects the mental health of its users. This report by WSJ has put the spotlight on Facebook again, and made critics call for the implementation of measures to regulate social media platforms.
Apart from Instagram getting in trouble, the company’s other projects are also facing issues. On Tuesday, Facebook launched a small pilot of its cryptocurrency wallet named Novi, but a group of U.S. lawmakers have said that the company cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency. They have also urged the firm to discontinue the pilot immediately.
In a letter to Zuckerberg, the senators wrote, as mentioned by Reuters, “Facebook is once again pursuing digital currency plans on an aggressive timeline and has already launched a pilot for a payments infrastructure network, even though these plans are incompatible with the actual financial regulatory landscape.” The senators added, “Facebook cannot be trusted to manage a payment system or digital currency when its existing ability to manage risks and keep consumers safe has proven wholly insufficient.”
In The End
Facebook isn’t the first tech giant to change its company name after growing significantly. Google set up Alphabet Inc as a holding company in 2015 to expand beyond its search and advertising businesses. The rebranding was done to show how the company has become a conglomerate that makes driverless cars and health tech. In 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc, and in the same year, the firm began calling itself a “camera company,” and debuted its first pair of Spectacles camera glasses.
Even though the news about the name change is out of the blue, it is not a completely unexpected move. Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be known as a metaverse company in the future, and slowly move away from its roots as a social media company. After all the scandals and controversies, this change might be a good one for the social media giant.
However, it also brings up a couple of questions — What kind of changes will Facebook make within the company to further safeguard our data in the future? What kind of measures will be implemented by the company so that it can curb the spread of misinformation and change its products in a way that it doesn’t harm the mental health of its users? Well, we hope Zuckerberg explains more about the metaverse in the future and put more effort into it so that it becomes a better product than Facebook, and not replicate the latter’s mistakes.