Facebook data center

A rendering of the new additions to Facebook's Newton Data Center.

Facebook has long tried to change the subject to distract the world from its problems.

Now the company may be taking that strategy to a new level: By changing its name.

According to a report in the technology publication The Verge, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to announce a rebrand of the company next week to focus it more on upcoming hardware projects and virtual reality.

The Washington Post has not independently confirmed the Verge report.

"We don't comment on rumors or speculation," Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement.

If Facebook does change its name, it would be in alignment with Zuckerberg's strategy to rebrand the company overall. The Post has previously reported he is focused on a passion project called the metaverse, a virtual world that he says would unite Facebook's various products and services, and shift it away from a sole focus on social media.

Meanwhile, Facebook is confronting yet another major crisis - a whistleblower who shared thousands of internal company documents with Congress demonstrating how the platform contributes to social harms. Frances Haugen testified before the Senate earlier this month and is scheduled to do so in the United Kingdom on Monday.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering whether to take Haugen's case.

In addition, lawmakers around the world are preparing or debating laws that would place significant legal responsibilities on social media companies that have long been largely unregulated.

When Google changed its name to Alphabet in 2015, it was also an attempt to create an umbrella company that would unify its many subsidiaries and branches. But colloquially, the company is still referred to as Google.

And like the part of the Alphabet conglomerate that involves Google search and ads, Facebook's "big blue app," as the core social media company is known internally, is still by far the singular profit-driver for the company. Facebook's other products, like WhatsApp or Oculus headsets, make very little money in comparison.

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