Facebook to Change Name amid Multiple Mounting Scandals
Mark Zuckerberg's company's moves to rebrand in effort to shake off scandals
Big Tech giant Facebook is planning to change its name from next week in an apparent effort to shake off multiple mounting scandals, according to reports.
The Silicon Valley company's original social media site - Facebook - will likely keep its moniker.
However, Facebook Inc., the parent company which also owns Whatsapp and Instagram, will rebrand.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to reveal his company's new name at its annual Connect conference on October 28, but it could be unveiled sooner, the Verge reported.
The change would likely position Facebook's social media platform as one of many products under a parent company.
It will also help distance the firm's flagship social media brand from future bad publicity, with recent testimony from former employee Frances Haugen managing to contaminate the reputations of Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook said it does not comment on rumors or speculation, according to The Daily Mail.
The move could benefit the California-based behemoth's reputation, which has suffered hit after hit in recent years.
It was accused of facilitating the spread of misinformation during the 2016 US presidential election, prompting a series of congressional hearings and policy changes.
The changes included the introduction of third-party "fact-checkers," which have created further allegations of political bias and censorship on the plaform.
In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion for allowing 87 million US profiles to be harvested for information used for political advertising by British firm Cambridge Analytica.
Most recently, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen released a trove of documents dubbed the "Facebook Files" to the Wall Street Journal.
The internal research suggests that Facebook promoted divisiveness as a way to keep people on the site.
It also showed that the company knew Instagram harmed young girls' body image and even tried to brainstorm ways to appeal to toddlers by "exploring playdates as a growth lever."
Haugen, who anonymously filed eight complaints about her former employer with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, told 60 Minutes earlier this month: "Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety."
She claimed that a 2018 change prioritizing divisive posts, which made Facebook users argue, was found to boost user engagement.
That in turn helped bosses sell more online ads that have seen the social media giant's value pass $1 trillion.
She alleged that Facebook manipulates the information flow by censoring and suppressing certain viewpoints in the NewsFeed while promoting other talking points in an effort to "divide society" for "profit."
Haugen told senators that no similar company's CEO has as much unilateral control as Zuckerberg does.
"Mark holds a very unique role in the tech industry in that he holds over 55% of all the voting shares for Facebook.
"There are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled," she said.
"There's no one currently holding him accountable but himself."
A metaverse, which Facebook is now focusing on, refers to shared virtual world environments, which people can access via the Internet.
The term can refer to digital spaces, which are made more lifelike by the use of virtual reality or augmented reality.
Zuckerberg has previously suggested it to be the future of the company.
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 told The Verge earlier this year.
"And I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area."
On Sunday, Facebook announced it was hiring 10,000 people in Europe to build the metaverse out.
"The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities," the company said in a blog post.
"And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start."
"Today, we are announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years."
The tech giant said the new roles will include "highly specialized engineers" but did not reveal any more detail about its plans for the new metaverse team.