Facebook plans to rebrand company with new name: Report

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Facebook, facing intense scrutiny over its business practices, is planning to rebrand the company with a new name that focuses on the metaverse, according to The Verge.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce the name at the company's Connect conference on Oct 28, the website reported on Tuesday (Oct 19).

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment, saying the company does not "comment on rumour or speculation".

Mr Zuckerberg, who co-founded the social network in 2004, has said that the key to Facebook's future lies with the metaverse concept - the idea that users will live, work and exercise inside a virtual universe.

"In the coming years, I expect people will transition from seeing us primarily as a social media company to seeing us as a metaverse company," Mr Zuckerberg said in July. "In many ways, the metaverse is the ultimate expression of social technology."

It's not uncommon in the Silicon Valley for companies to change their names as they bid to expand their services.

Google established Alphabet Inc as a holding company in 2015 to expand beyond its search and advertising businesses, to oversee various other ventures ranging from its autonomous vehicle unit and health technology to providing internet services in remote areas.

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps.

On Tuesday, it announced plans to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years to help build this metaverse.

Zuckerberg has been talking up metaverse since July and the buzzy word, first coined in a dystopian novel three decades earlier, has been referenced by other tech firms such as Microsoft.

The Verge report said a possible name for the company could have something to do with Horizon. Recently, Facebook renamed its in-development VR gaming platform named 'Horizon,' to 'Horizon Worlds'.

The rebranding would come at a time when Facebook is under fire from regulators, lawmakers and activists.

Whistle-blower Frances Haugen has shared thousands of company documents with regulators and The Wall Street Journal. The documents detailed Facebook's struggle with moderating its content and alleged deleterious mental health effects of its photo-sharing app Instagram.

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