In a desperate bid to distract attention away from the mounting scandals, Facebook has announced plans to change its name next week.
The Big Tech’s parent company, Facebook Inc., which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, will be rebranded.
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Mark Zuckerberg is expected to unveil Facebook’s new name at the annual Connect conference on October 28, but it could be unveiled sooner, according to reports.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: One commentator called the plan ‘the old rebrand trick’, in reference to other companies that have changed their names to avoid scrutiny, while others suggested new names for the company, with ‘Fakebook’ and ‘Wokebook’ being popular choices.
Facebook said it does not comment on rumor or speculation over the touted name change, reminiscent of when Google abruptly renamed itself Alphabet in 2015, making Google a subsidiary and allowing it to become a technology conglomerate.
Joking about the prospect of Facebook Inc. changing its name, one user wrote: ‘Facebook is now 17 years old, so this is right on time for deciding a new, cooler name when you get to college.’
Another suggested Facebook change its name to Cambridge Analytica – the company that was found to have collected Facebook user data without their consent. ‘Don’t be shy Mark. You’re part of the brand,’ the user wrote.
One person likened the expected Facebook re-brand to a wolf in sheep’s clothing, while another posted a picture of ‘The Simpsons’ character Mr Burns with a fake moustache, writing ‘Facebook with a new name’.
The name change would likely position Facebook’s social media app as one of many products under a parent company, which will oversee products like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more.
The change will also help distance the firm’s flagship social media brand from future bad publicity, with recent whistleblower testimony from former worker Frances Haugen adding to a list of damaging scandals to the reputations of Facebook and Instagram.
Just yesterday, U.S. officials announced Facebook Inc had agreed to pay pay up to $14.25 million to settle civil claims by the government that the company discriminated against American workers and violated federal recruitment rules.
And today in the U.K., the company was fined £50.5 million ($70 million) after failing to provide enough important information to the competition regulator investigating the firm’s takeover of GIF sharing platform Giphy.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a probe into the acquisition in June last year, shortly after the deal was announced, over concerns about a ‘substantial lessening of competition’.
Facebook responded to the fine, saying: ‘We strongly disagree with the CMA’s unfair decision to punish Facebook for a best effort compliance approach, which the CMA itself ultimately approved. We will review the CMA’s decision and consider our options.’
Facebook has also admitted that users can share information about how to enter countries illegally and about people smuggled on its social media platforms.
The admission comes as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich urged the Department of Justice and US Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the social media giant over its ‘facilitation’ of illegal migration into the United States.
The move could benefit the California-based behemoth’s reputation, which has suffered hit after hit in recent years.