By Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business
Facebook is set to hold a product event on Thursday where it is expected to focus on its big bet on the “metaverse” and potentially reveal a new name for the company.
At 1 p.m. ET, Facebook will livestream its eighth annual Connect event to unveil its latest innovations and research in augmented and virtual reality, and more on its vision for the metaverse, which refers to efforts that combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online platform.
But it’s also expected to reorganize its business under a new name and possibly change the title of its cofounder, Mark Zuckerberg, who will kick the event off with a keynote. The change could demote Facebook to just one of the company’s three major platforms — which also includes Instagram and WhatsApp — rather than the overarching brand.
The move would reflect the company’s mission to be known for more than social media and align with its growing focus on the metaverse. The Verge first reported the potential name change last week.
A rebranding could also be part of an effort to overhaul Facebook’s reputation and turn the page following a series of PR nightmares, including misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effects its products have on some users’ mental health.
On an earnings call in July, Zuckerberg teased the concept of the metaverse as a space similar to the internet where users (via digital avatars) can walk around and interact with one another in real time. In theory, users could sit around a virtual meeting table with remote colleagues, and then walk over to a virtual Starbucks to meet up with a friend.
“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,” he said on the call.
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