Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to unveil the company’s new name as well as its restructuring at Facebook’s yearly Connect Conference, which will be held on Thursday.
Many believe that the restructuring plan for Facebook, as well as its new name, is an attempt for the company to distance itself from recent controversy surrounding its collection of user data, its role in creating political instability, and its damaging impact on young users, particularly girls.
Facebook is expected to restructure its current model by placing the social media site and all of its subsidiaries, including Instagram and WhatsApp, under a new, renamed parent company.
Mark Zuckerberg spearheads metaverse VR
This announcement comes just over a week after Facebook unveiled its plan to move past standard social media sites and into the realm of virtual reality with its “metaverse” platform.
The metaverse concept involves users working, gaming, and communicating in a virtual world with the use of VR headsets.
Zuckerberg, who has spearheaded the shift toward virtual reality, recently announced that the company would hire 10,000 skilled workers from the EU to help construct the metaverse platform.
“The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start,” Facebook said in a blog post.
The new jobs being created over the next five years will include “highly specialized engineers,” the company said. Facebook has made building the metaverse one of its major priorities.
Despite its history of buying up rivals, Facebook claims the metaverse “won’t be built overnight by a single company” and has promised to collaborate. It recently invested $50 million in funding non-profit groups to help “build the metaverse responsibly.”
But Facebook thinks the true metaverse idea will take another 10 to 15 years to be completed. Unlike current Virtual Reality (VR) projects, mostly used for gaming, the metaverse virtual world could be used for practically anything: work, play, concerts, cinema trips – or just hanging out.
Facebook’s new name seen as attempt to skirt controversies
This flurry of new announcements and shifts at Facebook may be a response to mounting criticism and government scrutiny of the company’s practices.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the former employee of the firm who released a bombshell in early October when she spoke freely to “60 Minutes” about the media behemoth’s policies, charged in Congressional testimony that the company “is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny.”
She went on to state that her former employer is well aware of the damage it has caused and continues to cause to the social fabric, telling the Commerce Subcommittee “I am here today because I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.”
Haugen, who shared tens of thousands of pages of Facebook’s own research showing that the firm knew about an array of problems caused by its own apps, including what was termed its “toxic” effect on teenaged girls who were targeted with eating disorder content on Instagram — which it also owns.