Facebook will announce a major company restructure next week that will see it operate under a new name, a person claiming to have knowledge of the matter said this week.
The unnamed source told The Verge that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to make the change to highlight the company’s ambitions beyond its core social networking product.
The plans include the building of a so-called metaverse, described by Facebook as “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality” that aims to make interacting online “much closer to the experience of interacting in person.” Think of it as a kind of immersive, 3D internet.
Similar to how Google created Alphabet in 2015 to oversee multiple companies and initiatives as the web giant expanded beyond its search engine service, the reported rebrand is expected to place Facebook beneath a new parent company that will also oversee other Facebook-owned products such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and VR-focused Oculus, among others.
The reported restructuring comes as Facebook continues to grapple with a slew of scandals that have prompted critics to call for regulation to curb its influence. Creating a parent company could therefore help Zuckerberg to put some space between its grand metaverse ambitions and its ongoing Facebook-related woes, with the social networking service likely to play a diminishing role over time.
The name of the new parent company is said to be a closely guarded secret within Facebook, with Zuckerberg expected to officially announce it at its annual Connect conference on Thursday, October 28.
Facebook launched in 2004 before going on to become the most popular social networking service in the world with an estimated 2.89 billion monthly active users. In recent years, the company has made numerous acquisitions as it seeks to broaden its business.
As part of its ambitious metaverse plans, Facebook announced just a few days ago that it will hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years, with many highly specialized engineers the target of its upcoming recruitment drive.
Speaking to The Verge in July, Zuckerberg described the metaverse as “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content, you are in it.”
Digital Trends has reached out to Facebook for comment on Tuesday’s report and we will update this article when we hear back.