Facebook plans change of name to focus on metaverse
One of the most popular social media companies, Facebook, is planning to change its name to be known for more than just social media.
This new identity is suspected to be announced at Facebook’s annual Connect conference on October 28, 2021, and it will reflect its focus on building the metaverse, according to a source cited by a tech blog- The Verge.
The rebranding is also to position the Facebook app as one among many others under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.
“We will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said this in July.
Metaverse is a term which refers to shared virtual world environments which people can access via the internet. The term can refer to digital spaces which are made more lifelike by the use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
Facebook announced on Monday that it intended to hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years to help build the metaverse.
It defines it simply as a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.
“The metaverse is going to be a big focus, and I think that this is just going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet evolves after the mobile internet, and I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area,” Zuckerberg said.
According to a tweet by @udiWertheimer, the term metaverse was coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book “Snowcrash” and it originally described a virtual world owned by corporations where end users were treated as citizens in a dystopian corporate dictatorship.
Although the metaverse agenda is a concept that is not widely understood, the company however announced a $50 million investment to research and ensure that it is built responsibly.
Facebook is not the first well-known tech company to change its name as its ambitions expand. This is similar to Google’s decision in 2015 to create a parent company called Alphabet, to indicate that it was no longer just a search engine, but an extension with companies making driverless cars and health tech.
While Facebook’s name change could be a way of proving there is more to it than being a social media platform, it could also be a move to shed some of the controversies surrounding it.