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Facebook plans to change its name to help the company rebrand: rpt

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Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is expected to discuss Facebook's name change as part of the company's rebrand, according to Verge. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley weighs in.

Video Transcript

JARED BLIKRE: Facebook getting a facelift? Well, it might be getting a new name and as soon as next week, possibly, at least according to some reports. And we want to bring in Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley to break this down for us. And Dan, I'm thinking, is a new name really what's in store? Is that going to solve Zuckerberg's problems here? And if you have any guesses as to what that new name could be, I'd love to hear them because I'm guessing it's not going to be Zuck Bill or something to that extent.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, probably not. Yeah, this is a report from "The Verge." Obviously, the difference here being that what Facebook apparently wants to do is focus more on the metaverse. Now, the metaverse is really kind of a way to think about the internet or connected experiences that are persistent and online. It's kind of weird to call it the metaverse. You can also just call it an extension of the internet. But hey, you know, metaverse sells well.

So they're trying to build out their metaverse platforms. They're using this through VR and AR. They obviously have the Oculus Line. And that's what the event coming up on next week is going to be focused on. And that's when we're expected to hear the name change. As for what the change will be, it's still up in the air. Facebook, at this point, is kind of a toxic name.

Instagram is quickly getting there, based on the whistleblower reports that we had seen from Frances Haugen, the former employee there who leaked data to the "Wall Street Journal" and "60 Minutes" and then testified before Congress earlier this month. She's also expected to testify before the UK parliament later this month.

And, you know, I think for Facebook, this is about two things. One, it's about, yes, working on the metaverse, but more importantly, it's about getting the corporate name to change away from Facebook, so it doesn't have that overhang. But, you know, we've seen this before in other companies.

Google, not necessarily trying to get away from the name Google, but trying to ensure that it's just not known for the search engine, went with Alphabet. So this way, its Waymo properties and things along those lines were getting their due. But you still call Alphabet Google. I've never-- there's no point in time where I would be like, oh, yeah, Google or Alphabet makes Waymo. No, Google makes Waymo because that's what we've known it for.

SNAP tried to change its name from Snapchat to SNAP. And that was because they wanted to be known as a camera company because of the spectacles. Well, I don't see a whole hell of a lot of people using spectacles. And we still call it Snapchat because that's what the app is.

So this is really kind of a strange move for them. I think we're all going to still refer to it as Facebook, unless it's some wild, out there name. And it's still going to have the same baggage regardless of what you call it because of the issues that are continuing to go on, including, by the way, an antitrust suit that the FTC refiled against Facebook that they're trying to see dismissed.

KARINA MITCHELL: And Congress is really unhappy with some of what Facebook is doing. Richard Blumenthal, in fact, says he's disappointed that Facebook has been unwilling to be fully transparent and wants him to appear on Capitol Hill to testify. Do you think we see that anytime soon?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, what's interesting is when it comes to this latest round of controversies for Facebook-- I have to say the latest round because there's so many others. But what's going on with the latest round is that Zuckerberg has not been really present for any of it. This is part of Facebook's new strategy, as "The New York Times" had reported, of being more aggressive, not apologizing as much, and keeping Zuckerberg out of the spotlight when it comes to these controversies and putting lieutenants out front and center. And that's really what we've seen. Facebook is using that playbook to a tee this time around.

So if we do see him before Congress, it would be interesting to see how he responds. He's previously been somewhat brusque with members of Congress, though they also-- the members of Congress, that is-- aren't the most enlightened when it comes to technology or informed, frankly. So it kind of is warranted in some respects.

But how he responds to accusations that they, Facebook, doesn't take care of hate speech or allows human trafficking in foreign countries or impacts the mental health of teen girls, that will be interesting to see how he responds. Chances are, he'll go with the kind of responses we've seen already from the company, that the documents that have been leaked don't really pertain particularly to Facebook overall and were just for internal discussion.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, always love to see Zuck in the hot seat. Thank you for that, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley.

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