The company wants to move away from social media and pivot toward augmented reality.
By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News
Facebook is set to change its name to reflect a new focus on being at the forefront of building the metaverse, an insider has told The Verge.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to discuss the name change at the company’s upcoming annual conference, due to be held on October 28, although the name could be officially released sooner.
The change is being used to signal a shift away from social media, which has come in for increasing criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, as Facebook rebrands itself as a pioneer of the metaverse.
Facebook already owns a number of social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram. These, along with Facebook itself, will come under the purview of a parent company, with Facebook being positioned alongside the other platforms as a social media app.
In July, Zuckerberg told The Verge, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”
In a statement released Sunday, Nick Clegg, VP Global Affairs, and Javier Olivan, VP Central Products, explained:
“Facebook is at the start of a journey to help build the next computing platform. Working with others, we’re developing what is often referred to as the metaverse — a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
“At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of “virtual presence,” interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person. The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities.”
Put simply, the concept of the metaverse is effectively a virtual media internet, whereby instead of interacting with each other on a screen, people will use augmented reality technology to overlay the internet onto the real world.
Facebook has already hired 10,000 employees engaged in creating augmented reality glasses, in which information is fed into the glasses that act as a screen. The wearer will see both the real world and information overlaid, or even people or objects they can interact with.
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 in July. “And I think it’s going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area.”
The company now intends to hire a further 10,000 new workers located within the European Union to help build its new metaverse platform.
According to Clegg and Olivan, the EU was chosen for the recruitment drive not only to capitalize on European talent, but also to engage the EU’s political structure in shaping the regulatory framework in which the metaverse will operate.
“The EU also has an important role to play in shaping the new rules of the internet,” Clegg and Olivan said. “We hope to see the completion of the Digital Single Market to support Europe’s existing advantages, as well as stability on international data flows, which are essential to a flourishing digital economy.”