Is Facebook about to change its name... and does it matter?

Cracked Facebook logo and metaverse concept

Over the years, Mark Zuckerberg has shared various visions for the future including getting the entire world online. His latest idea is that of the metaverse, a far more immersive, connected experience that blends the realms of virtual reality and the internet.

While details of quite what Facebook's plans for the metaverse might be currently remain vague and ethereal, it seems that Zuckerberg could be on the verge of announcing a rebranding and a new name for Facebook.

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The news comes via a Verge report which cites an unnamed "source with direct knowledge of the matter". The change in name comes just as the company looks to shift focus somewhat, going all in on the metaverse concept. Mark Zuckerberg is expected to talk in detail about the rebranding at the Connected conference on October 28, but it is likely that more information about the new name will be revealed before then -- perhaps in the next few days.

The rebranding sounds very similar to the move Google made several years ago, with Google becoming a project of the umbrella company Alphabet. Similarly, it is expected that Facebook will announce a new name, and perhaps a new structure, with the Facebook social networking app retaining its branding and existing as a project of the parent company with its new moniker.

It is not clear quite how the rebranding and restructure could work. It might be that the newly named parent company is directly responsible for the metaverse focus, with Facebook, Instagram and other projects from the same stable continuing beneath this. Alternatively, it is possible that in addition to a new name for the umbrella company, there could also be a brand-new metaverse division.

Only time will tell, but the question is how much -- if at all – it matters. When Google announced Alphabet, it meant very little for the average person or user. Six years down the line it is rare for many people to refer to Alphabet; force of habit means that Google is still seen as the main company. Of course, investors, the tech community and industry insiders see things rather differently, and this is likely to be the case for Facebook too.

While it is far from being a secret, it is fair to assume that most people using WhatsApp and Instagram are either unaware or simply don't care that these are Facebook products. The same is likely to be true if and when the Facebook brand is shifted down a level and the new overseeing company is launched. Most Facebook users will continue to use Facebook oblivious to, or not bothered by, the fact that it is owned by a differently name company.

What will be interesting to see is just how the metaverse concept is used to tie together all of Facebook's products and how much this will drive the direction of individual services.

At this stage the renaming of Facebook is unconfirmed. The company is not currently willing to shed any light on what is happening, saying simply: "Facebook doesn't comment on rumour or speculation".

But if the reports prove to be true, we should know more within a week.

Image credit: Sergei Elagin and thinkhubstudio / Shutterstock

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