Facebook hopes to draw a line under a stream of leaks and scandals that have plagued the business in recent years with a potential rebrand and pivot.
According to reports in The Verge, Mark Zuckerberg is spearheading the change in direction in the belief that shared virtual social experiences – the so-called metaverse – represents the next phase of the internet beyond today’s clumsy screens and last-century interfaces.
Signifying the importance of this shift to his company’s future, Zuckerberg is believed to be ready to sanction a rebrand of the company with a new name to cement the change in direction at all levels – although whether this amounts to a cursory tweak to its typography or something more meaningful remains up in the air.
Facebook itself remains tight-lipped and is unlikely to show its hand prior to its annual Connect conference on October 28, but speculation is rife that the rebrand will demote Facebook to stand alongside Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus as separate arms of a new parent company.
Illustrating the seriousness with which Facebook is treating the idea, the company announced just days ago that it would recruit 10,000 people across Europe to help build a virtual world to underpin its services when viewed through virtual reality (VR) headsets or augmented reality (AR) glasses.
Zuckerberg’s preference to focus on the future over the present is understandable given the mounting travails his company is facing following the leak of damaging internal documents by whistleblower Frances Haugen and moves by antitrust regulators to break the company up – all of which have fed through to waning trust in the Facebook brand and are compounded by an embarrassing server outage.
Any potential Facebook rebrand would be far from unprecedented in the tech space, with Google leading the way back in 2015 when it reorganized operations under the Alphabet holding company in an attempt to shake off perceptions that it was solely a search engine. By forcing people to adopt a new nomenclature of its own making, Facebook will hope to open people’s eyes to the growing breadth of its own operations – particularly now that Facebook has hit saturation point in most developed markets.