"The Facebook" Trends As People Speculate on Company Name Change Amid Metaverse Plans

Facebook is planning a massive rebrand next week, it has been reported, and speculation about a potential new name for the social network is building across social media.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg intends to talk about the rebranding and his intention to build a "metaverse" at the company's annual meeting on October 28, The Verge reported on Tuesday, citing a source with knowledge of the plan. A rebrand could come into effect before then, the report added.

Speculation about the rename led to "The Facebook" trending on Google. TheFacebook was the original name of the social media platform, which was launched on February 4, 2004.

The name reminded some Twitter users of the new Batman movie, starring Robert Pattinson, titled The Batman. Journalist Matthew Frightbach joked that the company was rebranding in honor of the film, the trailer for which was released this week.

In honor of The Batman, Facebook is going back to The Facebook. https://t.co/AS2IyaTicY

— Matthew Frightbach (@fbihop) October 20, 2021

The Verge suggests the move is designed to reflect the company's aim to be seen as more than a social media provider, and speculates that the rebrand will position the Facebook app as part of a range of products alongside Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, under the umbrella of a parent company.

Kevin Fox, the designer who created the interface for Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader and more, joked that the company could carry the "The" rebrand across its multiple platforms.

My tongue-in-cheek guess is that they’ll call the umbrella brand “The”.

Hence, “The Facebook”, “The Instagram”, “The Oculus” etc. https://t.co/dgtMuPXZSu

— Kevin Fox is hopeful 🦊😷 (@kfury) October 20, 2021

The rebrand of the social media giant could reflect Zuckerberg's desire to create a new computing "multiverse."

In a blog post published on Sunday, the company outlined a virtual world that uses augmented and virtual reality to deliver unique social and economic opportunities to users.

The technology and science editor for Flipboard, Ken Yeung, made the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that this "metaverse" concept could be worked into the new Facebook moniker.

You know what's better than "the facebook"? "the face verse."

— kenyeung.eth (@thekenyeung) October 20, 2021

Newsweek previously reported that as the social media giant introduces the multiverse concept it is planning to hire an additional 10,000 workers in the European Union over the coming five years.

In the blog post Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, vice president of central products, wrote: "As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook's most pressing priorities."

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Facebook executives had been saying the metaverse could be the next big thing after the mobile internet. The company says the metaverse will be a massive virtual world that can be accessed in real time by users who will be represented in the virtual space by their avatars.

The metaverse can then be used to hold virtual meetings or buy virtual land and clothing or other digital assets. Users will be able to pay for these items with cryptocurrencies.

Author Sarah Piper posted a tweet suggesting that "meta" would possibly be part of the new name for Facebook, adding that she was not keen on the idea.

Bet it has Meta in the name somewhere. Ugh this whole article is making me want to ditch FB sooner than I already planned to.

— Sarah Piper (@SarahPiperBooks) October 20, 2021

Despite Facebook heavily prepping for the metaverse concept, no single company will control it. Epic Games, which operates the online game Fortnite, has raised $1 billion from investors to help develop the concept, according to AP.

In September, Facebook announced that it would invest $50 million in researching the responsible development of products alongside civil rights groups, nonprofits, governments and universities.

However, AP reported that this has not offset fears that the metaverse will be monopolized by a handful of Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook.

Facebook declined to comment when contacted by Newsweek.

Update 10/20/21, 7:50 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a response from Facebook.

Facebook grouped with other company assets. Speculation suggests that the social media platform will rebrand as early as next week. getty/Chesnot