Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building what it is calling its “metaverse.”
Per The Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the coming name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, but he could unveil the new name sooner.
The rebranding would likely position Facebook app as one of many products under a singular parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more.
Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees building consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as popular as smartphones. In July, he told The Verge that 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.”
The metaverse typically refers to the loosely defined concept of a virtual space where people can operate virtual and augmented reality-powered avatars. The term metaverse was coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 book, Snow Crash, but the idea has appeared in pop culture through movies like The Matrix and Ready Player One.
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,” Zuckerberg said over the summer. “And I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area.”
Zuckerberg said that he views the metaverse as “an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content – you are in it.”
Facebook’s proposed name change also comes at a time when it is facing another round of scrutiny over a range of scandals related to its social media platforms, including a series of documents leaked by a whistleblower to Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and media outlets.