Facebook’s name change plan reflects its real priorities

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Facebook’s program to alteration its institution name, arsenic archetypal reported by The Verge, comes astatine a peculiar time. The astir $1 trillion institution that owns Instagram and WhatsApp is facing its biggest ungraded successful years implicit damning interior documents leaked by a whistleblower, arsenic good arsenic mounting antitrust scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators.

So what’s truly going on? Is the sanction alteration meant to beryllium a distraction from its bigger problems? A motion of much institution changes to come? And erstwhile did Facebook archetypal travel up with this idea?

There’s inactive a batch we don’t know, including what precisely Facebook’s caller firm sanction volition be. The Verge indicated it volition link to the company’s focus connected the “metaverse,” a processing integer level enhanced by augmented and virtual world wherever radical interact done integer avatars.

“We don’t remark connected rumor oregon speculation.” said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne successful effect to Recode’s questions astir the company.

But 1 happening this rebrand makes wide is that contempt the monolithic challenges Facebook is facing, it isn’t slowing down oregon staying successful a antiaircraft crouch. It inactive has its sights acceptable connected expanding its domination and world-building, which is what it’s trying to execute with its metaverse plans.

Rather than announcing superior reforms successful effect to the whistleblower’s revelations, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made nary apologies. Instead, helium and his institution person dismissed the whistleblower’s complaints and evidence, and are plowing up with a longstanding program to crook the science-fiction conception of a metaverse into a concern reality.

For Facebook, this isn’t a caller idea. Zuckerberg sees the metaverse arsenic the adjacent signifier of large technological innovation akin to the invention of the net oregon mobile phones.

The CEO told journalist Casey Newton successful March that Facebook volition beryllium a metaverse institution — not a societal media institution — successful the adjacent 5 years. The institution precocious announced 10,000 caller hires successful the EU who volition enactment connected the metaverse. And this reported sanction alteration shows that Zuckerberg volition reorient the full Facebook marque astir it. The sanction alteration could besides assistance Facebook region itself from the baggage associated with its main merchandise arsenic it builds retired its shiny caller metaverse-related products, similar Oculus headsets and different AR/VR wearable devices.

Some Facebook critics person argued that a splashy caller sanction serves arsenic a convenient media distraction from the deeper issues astatine manus — comparing the strategy to that of baccy elephantine Philip Morris changing its sanction to Altria successful 2001 oregon British Petroleum to BP Amoco successful the precocious ’90s and past BP successful 2001.

“Faced with a tsunami of grounds of irresponsible behaviour and imaginable transgression violations, Facebook is hopeless to alteration the subject,” Roger McNamee, an aboriginal capitalist successful the institution who has go 1 of the company’s astir vocal critics, told Recode. “Journalists and policymakers request to stay focused connected the transgression scene, not the arm-waving.”

Usually, firm sanction changes for a institution of Facebook’s size necessitate semipermanent readying and strategizing, truthful it seems improbable that the institution came up with the thought overnight — though it’s plausible that caller events could person sped up a determination already successful the works. Facebook has struggled with its brand’s entreaty since agelong earlier the Haugen testimony.

And truthful far, the reported sanction alteration is lone prompting much scrutiny and is seeming to provoke some legislators’ ire, specified arsenic Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Blackburn co-chairs the influential bipartisan Senate Commerce subcommittee that has been starring an probe into the caller whistleblower’s claims; she tweeted connected Wednesday that Facebook changing its sanction “doesn’t marque a quality until they alteration their habits of prioritizing nett implicit the well-being of children.”

As the satellite waits to larn much astir Facebook’s rebrand, a cardinal item to ticker for is whether determination volition beryllium existent structural alteration to the company. When Google restructured its concern lines nether the umbrella of Alphabet successful 2015, it was intended successful portion to fto co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin instrumentality a measurement backmost from the company’s hunt concern and alternatively absorption connected its much experimental innovations. While Zuckerberg has fixed nary denotation helium plans to bash the same, radical volition beryllium watching to spot if immoderate benignant of organizational oregon enactment alteration comes with this rebrand.

In the meantime, these reported plans awesome that nary substance the reputational hits it’s dealing with, Facebook won’t beryllium deterred from pursuing its concern goals. Despite each its nationalist scandals, the institution is inactive wildly financially successful, raking successful tens of billions successful gross each quarter. And portion Facebook’s shares took a notable 5 percent dip soon aft the whistleblower went nationalist and an antithetic web outage, the terms is already bouncing back, and analysts expect different beardown earnings study adjacent week. That occurrence seems to springiness Zuckerberg a mandate to further his ambitious docket — which close present doesn’t look to beryllium fixing Facebook’s messy world today, but gathering retired a full caller 1 for tomorrow.