Facebook is expected to change its name next week and has been preparing for a rebrand for some time, The Verge reported Tuesday.
The Verge said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change during the annual Connect conference on Oct. 28.
However, the company could announce it sooner.
With the change, the Facebook app is expected to become one of many products under a parent company, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more.
While the new name is said to be a “closely-guarded secret” it could be connected to Horizon, the name of an unreleased virtual reality version of Facebook, some experts said. The app’s name was recently changed to Horizon Worlds after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration called Horizon Workrooms, said The Verge.
The rebrand is also connected to Zuckerberg’s plans to focus on “building the metaverse,” according to the outlet’s sources.
Just as the internet would have been a complicated concept to explain to most people in the early 1980s, the metaverse is difficult to describe. The phrase comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash and it refers to physical, augmented virtual reality in a shared online space. Venture capitalist Matthew Ball explained that the multiverse would be an uninterrupted, live experience with a fully functioning economy as well as other features.
In July, Zuckerberg told The Verge that, over the next several years, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”
Thousands of Facebook employees are already working on consumer hardware related to this goal, such as augmented reality glasses. Andrew Bosworth, head of virtual reality and augmented reality, will be promoted to chief technology officer of the company, and it is adding 10,000 more employees to work on the metaverse in Europe.
In addition to positioning Facebook as a metaverse company, the rebrand may also be able to create distance from recent scrutiny, such as the “Facebook Files” series in the Wall Street Journal and a recent whistleblower testimony.
A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment to The Verge.