(UPDATE) Facebook, under fire for enabling misinformation and harassment online, is planning to rebrand itself with a new name next week, the Verge reported on Tuesday, citing a source.
The move will come after at least two global outages that left millions of users unable to communicate using Facebook's suite of apps that includes Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
The Verge reported that the rebranding would allow the world's largest social media network to focus on its metaverse plans. CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about the name change at the company's annual Connect conference on Oct. 28, but it could be unveiled sooner.
A metaverse refers to shared virtual world environments, which people can access via the internet. The term can refer to digital spaces, which are made more lifelike by the use of virtual reality or augmented reality.
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The move would likely position the flagship app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing brands such as Instagram and WhatsApp, according to the report. Google adopted such a structure when it reorganized into a holding company called Alphabet in 2015.
Facebook said it does not comment on "rumor or speculation."
Zuckerberg has been talking up the metaverse, a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment, since July and the company has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets and working on AR glasses and wristband technologies.
The buzzy word, first coined in a dystopian novel three decades earlier, is popular in Silicon Valley and has been referenced by other tech firms such as Microsoft. The popular children's game Roblox describes itself as a metaverse company. Epic Games' Fortnite is also considered to be part of the metaverse.
The move would come at a time when Facebook is under wide-ranging scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators over its content moderation practices and harms linked to its platforms, with internal documents leaked by a whistleblower forming the basis for a U.S. Senate hearing last week.