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Facebook plans to make a dramatic break with its past by rebranding the company next week, according to a report.

Facebook’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, plans to talk about the name change at a company event next week but it could be unveiled sooner, reported the Verge, a US tech news website.

In a statement, Facebook said it “doesn’t comment on rumour or speculation”.

Under the plans, Facebook would change the name of its holding company but not that of its eponymous social media platform, known internally as the “big blue app”. As well as its founding site, the company also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and the virtual reality brand Oculus.

The Verge reported that the new name for the holding company could be linked to Horizon, a word used in at least two virtual reality products that the company is developing. Zuckerberg launched his company as TheFacebook 17 years ago.

Facebook is reportedly pondering a rebrand against the backdrop of its worst PR crisis since the Cambridge Analytica scandal three years ago. A former employee, Frances Haugen, has leaked tens of thousands of documents and gave a damning testimony to US senators in which she said Facebook put “astronomical profits before people”.

According to the Verge, VR is the driver of the mooted name change as the company focuses on building a “metaverse” as the cornerstone of a new growth strategy. The Verge reported that the rebranding announcement could take place at the company’s annual product conference, Connect, on 28 October, when more details about the metaverse are set to be unveiled.

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