Our Level Up Grant programme provides grants for short-term digital courses to unemployed Jamaicans who have not had the benefit of tertiary-level studies. These courses are designed to equip them with skills that put them in a position to gain employment and/or start their own online ventures.
To date, NCB has invested over $45M in the digital upskilling of over 6,000 Jamaicans who ordinarily would not have access to this form of training and further contribute to Jamaica’s human capital in digital careers.
This year, we are continuing the commitment to engage 3,000 future digital entrepreneurs through training partners Internet Income Jamaica and iCreate Institute.
To qualify for a Level Up Grant, applicants must:
Submit an online application in full by the deadline.
Be a Jamaican citizen over 18 years old who is either unemployed or underemployed.
Not have already attained an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Have demonstrated financial need (household income).
Demonstrate commitment to personal development, community, and nation-building.
After 25+ years of helping people use and experience the web, Internet Explorer (IE) is officially retired and out of support as of today, June 15, 2022. To many millions of you, thank you for using Internet Explorer as your gateway to the internet.
As a user, my first experience with IE was version 3, and my view of what was possible on the internet was transformed by the introduction of Dynamic HTML in IE4 and the introduction of AJAX in IE6. When I got the opportunity to join the IE7 team, I leapt on it, and have been a part of the Microsoft browser journey in some form ever since. Internet Explorer’s reputation today is, deservedly, one of a product from an older era—quirky in behavior and lacking the security of a modern browser. But its contributions to the evolution of the web have been remarkable, from helping to make the web truly interactive with DHTML and AJAX to hardware-accelerated graphics to innovations in touch/pen browsing. Working on the retirement of Internet Explorer has been a constant reminder of its importance; every day we work with customers who have built their businesses on Internet Explorer. To work on a product with such broad impact has been nothing but humbling—our story in many ways is the story of the internet and what it has allowed people and organizations around the world to do.
But the web has evolved and so have browsers. Incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn’t match the general improvements to the web at large, so we started fresh. Microsoft Edge is a faster, more secure and modern browser—the best browser for Windows—designed for today’s internet. But we haven’t forgotten that some parts of the web still rely on Internet Explorer’s specific behaviors and features, which is why Microsoft Edge comes with Internet Explorer mode (IE mode). Regardless of the site or standard—old or new—you can access what you need in Microsoft Edge with new modern features to make your time online even better.
So, what happens now for everyday users?
Example message informing users they are being redirected to Microsoft Edge
Over the next few months, opening Internet Explorer will progressively redirect users to our new modern browser, Microsoft Edge with IE mode. Users will still see the Internet Explorer icon on their devices (such as on the taskbar or in the Start menu) but if they click to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge will open instead with easy access to IE mode. Eventually, Internet Explorer will be disabled permanently as part of a future Windows Update, at which point the Internet Explorer icons on users’ devices will be removed.
As part of this redirection process, users will have their data like favorites, passwords and settings imported from Internet Explorer—this will help make the transition to Microsoft Edge both familiar and simple. If a user wants to delete or manage their data at any point after, they can always do so in Microsoft Edge from the Settings menu.
Some websites only work with Internet Explorer—these websites might be built on older internet technology and not function properly while using a modern browser. Understanding this, we’ve built Microsoft Edge with IE mode.
To help users get started with IE mode, the redirection process will add a “Reload in IE mode” button (see below) to their toolbar in Microsoft Edge. That way, if they encounter a website that may not work correctly—or if they visit a website that asks them to open the site using Internet Explorer—they can easily click the button to open the page in IE mode. Microsoft Edge will even ask them if they’d like the page to open in IE mode next time automatically! Microsoft Edge will check in with the user every 30 days to make sure they still need IE mode for the site. As more and more sites get updated to modern standards, users will need to use IE mode less and the modern rendering engine more.
Reload in IE mode button in the Microsoft Edge toolbar
If you’re an IT professional and your organization uses older, legacy sites as part of your normal business processes, you can easily automate IE mode so that those pages launch in IE mode automatically for your users.
Today’s retirement covers all currently supported versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Edu and IoT (Internet Explorer is already removed from Windows 11). Internet Explorer will not be immediately removed on all these versions today but will be progressively redirected to Microsoft Edge on all these devices over the next few months (just like for everyday users) to give our customers time to find any sites they potentially missed and complete their transition. After this redirection phase, Internet Explorer will be permanently disabled on devices via a future Windows Update.
For certain versions of Windows currently in-support and used in critical environments, we will continue to support Internet Explorer on those versions until they go out of support. These include all currently in-support Windows 10 LTSC releases (including IoT) and all Windows Server versions, as well as Windows 10 China Government Edition, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 with Extended Security Updates (ESUs). Future versions of these editions will not include Internet Explorer. Developers who rely on the underlying MSHTML (Trident) platform and COM controls on Windows will also continue to be supported on all Windows platforms.
And of course, we have committed to supporting IE mode in Microsoft Edge through at least 2029.
As a business, you can set up IE mode to use a site list, where you can catalog those sites that require Internet Explorer and have them load automatically in IE mode. You can store this site list locally, or in the cloud through the Microsoft 365 admin center, and any site on the list will load for your users in IE mode. This is the recommended approach if you’re a business that manages your devices and has legacy requirements.
We have help along the way if you experience compatibility issues when testing your websites in IE mode. You can get no-cost remediation assistance for those issues from our App Assure compatibility experts by submitting a request for assistance or by emailing us at ACHELP@microsoft.com.
The easiest thing to do is to start using Microsoft Edge today
Instead of waiting to be redirected to Microsoft Edge, the easiest thing to do is to get started with Microsoft Edge today. If you’re using Windows, you can open Microsoft Edge from the Windows Start menu or by clicking the Microsoft Edge icon if you see it on your desktop or taskbar.
Microsoft Edge icon on the Windows 11 taskbar and in the Start menu
If it’s your first-time using Microsoft Edge, you’ll be guided through a quick set up process that includes importing your data—complete this, and you’re set. If you’ve opened Microsoft Edge before and need to import your data from Internet Explorer, follow the steps in the video provided in the section above.
The best part? Once you’re set up in Microsoft Edge, you’ll be ready to use it when you upgrade to Windows 11. While Internet Explorer is not available on Windows 11, Microsoft Edge is the best browser for Windows, and it includes IE mode, so all you’ll need to do is sign into Microsoft Edge and get to browsing!
Microsoft Edge is also available on other platforms, including macOS, iOS, Android and Linux. Download here.
The future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge
If you have ever used IE to explore the internet, we want to share our deepest thanks for being a part of this journey with us. You’ve used it to build apps to support your businesses and to connect with people around the world; in doing so, you have been instrumental in how the web has progressed. While we bid farewell to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge stands ready to be your new everyday browser for work, life and everything in between. With IE mode, Microsoft Edge offers unmatched compatibility for the internet, whether the website was built 10 years or 10 days ago. The future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge, giving you a faster, more secure and more modern browser.
Windows Insider builds and beta builds are a great way to get a taste of the upcoming update. Due to the upcoming Windows 11 release, many users around the world have joined the insider program to test out the new OS. However, some users are finding the ‘Evaluation copy’ watermark to be quite annoying. So what is it? Should you be worried about it? Has your copy of Windows expired? Let’s find out!
Evaluation copy watermark is a watermark added by Windows to your desktop in the bottom right corner of your screen. This watermark denotes your current build, your Windows edition, and its desired variant. This is intended for the user to know their current beta or dev build with a single glance.
However, if you use your machine for everyday tasks, then this can be an annoying addition to your desktop. In such cases, you can use the methods below to disable it on your system.
Why did you get the evaluation copy watermark?
Watermarked copies are a great way for companies to track where their software is distributed and if it is being used illegally. Many illegal copies of Windows tend to be final insider beta and dev builds that manage to get in the hands of malicious users. Adding a watermark helps identify such installations and more importantly helps you figure out that you are not using a genuine copy of Windows. Do keep in mind, however, that this is different from the ‘Your copy of Windows is not genuine’ watermark which never goes away and is a mark of shame. The evaluation copy watermark is only designed to make you aware of your build. The watermark automatically goes away after a certain period of time.
How to get rid of the watermark
You can get rid of the watermark in mainly two ways. The first is to use a third-party app that can help you disable your watermark while the other requires you to wait the set amount of time. Follow one of the guides below that best suits your current needs and requirements.
Note: Before proceeding with the guide below we recommend you create a system restore point on your system as we will be modifying system files.
Method #01: Just wait (for a few days!)
If you don’t wish to use a third-party app then we recommend you simply wait a few days. The ‘Evaluation copy’ watermark is not bad — it’s not a label about something wrong that a watermark like ‘This copy of Windows is not genuine’ is.
It is simply meant to notify you about the recently installed beta or dev build that you are using. The watermark is designed to automatically vanish after a few days upon its installation.
Hence if you don’t wish to use a third-party app then we recommend you simply wait a few days for the watermark to go away.
Method #02: Universal watermark disabler
Universal watermark disabler is a popular utility that helps remove the watermark from your beta or dev copy of Windows 11. This tool is quite popular and has been used since the early days of Windows 10. You can use the guide below to remove your watermark using the universal watermark disabler on Windows 11.
Note: Ensure that you save all your work and terminate all background tasks that you had open before proceeding with this guide. We will not accept any liability for any mishap. This is just a recommendation and a guide that has worked for many people.
You will now be shown the installation screen for the Universal watermark disabler. Click on ‘Install’ to get you started.
Click on ‘Yes’.
The application will now do its thing and explorer.exe will restart a few times on your PC during this process. This is completely normal and you shouldn’t be alarmed. Once the process completes, you will be signed out automatically and a warning for the same will be shown on your screen. Click on ‘Ok’ to sign out of your account.
Log back into your account and you should no longer have the evaluation copy watermark on your system.
And that’s it! You will now have removed the evaluation watermark from your preview copy of Windows 11.
Should you use ‘Universal watermark disabler’?
Universal watermark disabler is a trusted utility that has been used for this purpose by many users. However, the utility is known to modify critical system files which if broken, could cause serious issues to your system. Hence its use depends on your prowess with the Microsoft OS.
If you’re an advanced user that can circumvent small errors and find your culprit then you shouldn’t have a problem using this tool. However, if you are using this on your daily driver or work machine then you could end up encountering serious conflicts with your work apps or a future version of Windows 11. Universal watermark disabler will modify your basebrd.dll.mui and shell32.dll.mui files located deep within your system.
These files will be restored to their original state once the app is removed from your system. Hence if you feel that modifying system files just to remove a watermark is not up your alley, then you can simply wait a few days. It has been some time since Universal watermark disabler was updated and isn’t officially compatible with Windows 11 yet. It could be a matter of time before an incompatible Windows 11 version sees the light of day that encounters serious issues due to the modified system files.
Hence, if you find Universal watermark remover to be too much of a hassle, then you can use the guide below to uninstall it from your system anytime you want.
Double click and launch the .exe file we had extracted from the archive at the time of installation.
Click on ‘Uninstall’.
Click on ‘Ok’ to confirm your choice.
The basebrd.dll.mui and shell32.dll.mui files will now be returned to their original state and the universal watermark disabler should now be uninstalled from your system.
NB: Should you take another windows update, your system may go back to what it was and you will need to reinstall the uwd.exe file.
We hope you were able to remove your evaluation copy watermark using the guide above. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.
In 2014, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) introduced the Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA) to help small businesses develop their operations to improve their creditworthiness. This is in keeping with the DBJ’s mission to provide opportunities to all Jamaicans to improve their quality of life through development financing and capacity building.
Funding for this platform was provided through the World Bank Access to Finance Project (A2F), a US$20 million-dollar project, which is being executed by the DBJ, tasked with the creation, improvement, and support of products and services that would assist Jamaica’s Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) by improving their access to funding.
The VTA is also supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through the DBJ’s flagship programme – Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE).
The Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA)
is issued electronically by the DBJ’s Approved Financial Institutions (AFIs) or Project Manager and may be redeemed at Business Development Organisations (BDOs) to receive business support services which will improve operations and the ability to access credit.
OUR STORY BEGINS with the opening of Rick’s Cafe by its founder, Richard Hershman, in April 1974. At the time, Negril was a sleepy fishing village with little development. It lacked many modern amenities such as electricity, telephone and hot running water. Our beautiful little cliffside location was originally owned by a local doctor, the son of the first Governor General of independent Jamaica.
RICK’S CAFE was the first public bar and restaurant of its type on the West End Cliffs, offering an alternative to Negril’s majestic seven mile beach. From the beginning, Rick’s Cafe boasted an unrivaled view of the sunset from its naturally formed cliffs. Over the years, visitors and locals alike have designated Rick’s Cafe as Negril’s premier gathering spot and our sunsets have become a Jamaican tradition.
FOR MORE THAN forty five years, Rick’s Café has maintained as much of its original ambiance as possible, despite some setbacks. In September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert completely destroyed Rick’s Café. Waves in excess of 25 feet crashed over the cliffs and treetops. After rebuilding, Rick’s Café came back more spectacular than ever. Sixteen years later, on September 11, 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed Rick’s. More destructive than Gilbert, 80-foot waves crashed over the cliffs and treetops. When the waves finally passed, Rick’s Café had been blown across the road in bits and pieces. But even after the tremendous damage from Ivan, Rick’s was rebuilt once again, bigger and better than before.
OUR FAMILY includes over 100 people to serve our guests and to maintain our 1.5 acre property. Many of our staff have been working at Rick’s Cafe for more than 30 years. Everyone receives on-the-job training and most can say that Rick’s is their first and only job.
ONE LOVE/WEST END ROAD NEGRIL, JAMAICA 876.957.0380 INFO@RICKSCAFEJAMAICA.COM
The SVS Business Hub, a subsidiary of the Supreme Ventures Group was born out of the need to provide business solutions pertinent to entrepreneurs and medium-sized businesses. Coupled with industry knowledge and decades of experience in guiding market penetration, growth and value, the SVS Business Hub’s cadre of professionals leverage its expertise and experience on a variety of disciplines across all industries.
To become the premier provider of business support services by leveraging our professionalism, expertise and strategic partnerships.
To facilitate the expansion of medium-sized Jamaican businesses
Aims & Objectives
To facilitate the growth of entrepreneurs
To provide business and professional services to Jamaican and Regional businesses.
To grow businesses and the Jamaican economy
To maximise shareholder value
To grow profit
The SV Business Hub’s management model hits right at the core of expertise, results-oriented and excellent customer service.
Led by Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Chung, the SVS Business Hub’s team of professionals with decades of senior management experience are laser-focused on achieving clearly defined targets to ensure that medium-sized businesses are provided with dedicated resources of talent, expertise and excellent customer service.
Collections Financial Statements Cash Management Business Intelligence Tax planning and reporting Budgeting
Social and Digital Media Management Public Relations Event Planning and Implementation Advertising and Promotion
Cloud/Disaster Recovery (DR) Management IT Security Infrastructure Management Digital Transformation Help Desk/User Support
Corporate Secretarial Services:
Company Incorporation & Business Registration Filings at the Companies Office Registration of Trademarks
Human Resources and Administration:
Payroll services Writing HR policy documents Managing benefits Recruitment and Training Services
(Credit: Blog.google) – Last week we unveiled the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — and we unveiled a lot. Aside from the two new phones themselves, there was also Google Tensor, our custom system on a chip (SoC) that takes advantage of our machine learning research. Then there’s Magic Eraser, which will take unwanted people and objects out of your photos — plus Pixel Pass, a new way to buy, and a ton of new features packed into Android 12.
Amid all the new, you may have missed a thing or two. But don’t worry, we went ahead and collected everything you might have missed, and some extras, too.
One of the key differences between Pixel 6 and previous editions is the radical redesign of the hardware encased in aluminum and glass.
2. Real Tone is a significant advancement, making the Pixel 6 camera more equitable, and that’s not all: It also improves Google Photos’ auto enhance feature on Android and iOS with better face detection, auto white balance and auto exposure, so that it works well across skin tones.
3. Speech recognition has been updated to take advantage of Google Tensor so you can do more with voice. We’ve added automatic punctuation while dictating and support for voice commands like “send” and “clear” to send a message or edit it. With new emoji support, I can just say ‘‘pasta emoji” while dictating. (Which, I admit, is going to get a lot of use.)
4. We’ve partnered with Snap to bring exclusive Snapchat features to the Pixel. For example, you can set it up so when you tap the back of your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro twice, it will launch the Snapchat selfie camera.
5. When you’re flipping through your photos on a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, Google Photos can proactively suggest using Magic Eraser to remove photobombers in the background.
6. The camera bar is a major new hardware design feature in the Pixel 6, and part of the reason it’s there is to fit a much bigger sensor, which captures more light so photos look sharper — in fact, the new sensor lets in 150% more light than that of the Pixel 5’s. The Pixel Pro 6’s Telephoto camera also uses a prism inside the camera to bend the light so the lens can fit inside the camera bar.
7. The Pixel 6 comes in Kinda Coral, Sorta Seafoam and Stormy Black, and the Pixel 6 Pro comes in Cloudy White, Sorta Sunny and the same Stormy Black. These shades are stunning on their own, but you can customize them even more with the new translucent cases: Combine the Sorta Seafoam Pixel 6 with the Light Rain case for an icy new look.
8. New in Android 12 and exclusive to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Gboard now features Grammar Correction. Not only will it make communication easier, but it will also work entirely on-device to preserve privacy. You can learn more over on the Google AI blog.
Designed & tested to withstand some of the harshest, most demanding environments
Both devices are the first from Dell to ship with new Windows 11 preinstalled
Whether you have one of the most extreme jobs in the world, one thing you cannot afford to worry about is if your technology is as rugged as your job needs it to be.
This means if you are working on an oil rig, are a first responder, work in manufacturing or are a member of the military and out in the field, your technology can be exposed to elements and conditions like extreme temperatures, constant vibrations or high levels of dust and humidity – environments that would push the limitations of a traditional office laptop.
To meet these demands, Dell has introduced the Latitude Rugged PC portfolio which is designed and tested to withstand some of the harshest, most demanding environments.
In a statement, Dell recently introduced the new Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged, a 5G-capable14” semi-rugged laptop and the Dell Latitude 7330, a 5G-capable 13” fully-rugged laptop.
New Dell line ups
The new Dell series comprise a completely redesign the Rugged laptops to provide:
Enhanced field productivity with 11th Gen Intel Core processors, with vPro optional;
Mission-critical connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6E and optional 5G-capability;
Improved daylight-readable and glove-touch capable screens of up to 1400 nits of brightness for optimal field usability; and
Improved battery run-time to almost 25 hours with dual hot swappable batteries and Express Charge Boost for up to a 35% charge in 20 minutes for 24×7 field operations.
Both the new Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged and the Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme also sports TPM 2.0 ControlVault advanced authentication to secure devices.
Integrated cryptographic keys, contacted and contactless smartcard reader and touch fingerprint reader options provide additional device security, Dell said.
Dell Latitude 5430
If you have a job that requires excellent field durability combined with optimal performance, then the Latitude 5430 Rugged is for you.
Starting at only 4.35lbs (1.97kg) it packs quite a punch, coming with an optional professional discrete graphics card. It’s drop-test from up to 3-feet and INgress Protection (IP)-53 rated for a high-degree of protection against dust, dirt and water ingress.
Dell Latitude 7330
Taking it up a notch with enhanced durability, the Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme features an optimal 1400-nit-direct-sunlight viewable and gloved multi-touch capable screen, is drop tested from up to 6-feet, and has an IP-65 rating for maximum protection against dust, dirt and water ingress.
All these come with Dell’s outstanding enterprise services and support, including next-business-day on-site option.
Both devices are the first from Dell to ship with new Windows 11 preinstalled, providing an optimal, smooth user experience from the start-because experience should be the same no matter what condition, Dell said.
To further enhance performance of the system, new Rugged laptops also come with Dell Optimizer, a software application that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise performance based on usage, it added.
Dell Latitude Rugged 5430 and 7730 laptops will be globally available for order in December, shipping with Windows 11.
(Credit: CMBC) – Facebook on Thursday announced that it has changed its company name to Meta. The name change was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference. The new name reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. Facebook, now known as Meta, has adopted the new moniker, based on the sci-fi term metaverse, to describe its vision for working and playing in a virtual world.
Facebook on Thursday announced that it has changed its company name to Meta.
The name change, which was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference, reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media.
The re-branding also comes after the company has dealt with a barrage of news reports over the past month stemming from whistleblower Frances Haugen’s trove of internal documents.
“Today we are seen as a social media company, but in our DNA we are a company that builds technology to connect people, and the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
The company also said in announcing the new name that it will change its stock ticker from FB to MVRS, effective Dec. 1.
Meta’s stock price closed up on Thursday.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
In July, the company announced the formation of a team that would work on the metaverse. Two months later, the company said it would elevate Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who is currently the head of the company’s hardware division, to the role of chief technology officer in 2022. And in its third-quarter earnings results on Monday, the company announced that it will break out Reality Labs, its hardware division, into its own reporting segment, starting in the fourth quarter.
“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter on Thursday.
Over the past few years, the company has ramped up its efforts in hardware, introducing a line of Portal video-calling devices, launching the Ray-Ban Stories glasses and rolling out various versions of the Oculus virtual-reality headsets. The company has indicated that augmented and virtual reality will be a key part of its strategy in the coming years.
The company also said this week it’d spend about $10 billion over the next year developing the technologies required for building the metaverse.
Zuckerberg on Thursday provided a demonstration of the company’s ambitions for the metaverse.
The demo was a Pixar-like animation of software the company hopes to build some day. The demo included users hanging out in space as cartoon-like versions of themselves or fantastical characters, like a robot, that represent their virtual selves. Zuckerberg used part of it to accuse other tech firms of stifling innovation with high developer fees.
Zuckerberg said a lot of this is a long way off, with elements of the metaverse potentially becoming mainstream in five to 10 years. The company expects “to invest many billions of dollars for years to come before the metaverse reaches scale,” Zuckerberg added.
“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg said.
Additionally, Meta announced a new virtual reality headset named Project Cambria. The device will be a high-end product available at a higher price point than the $299 Quest 2 headset, the company said in a blog post. Project Cambria will be released next year, Zuckerberg said.
Meta also announced the code name of its first fully AR-capable smart glasses: Project Nazare. The glasses are “still a few years out,” the company said in a blog post. Zuckerberg said “we still have a ways to go with Nazare, but we’re making good progress.”
The re-branding comes amid a barrage of news reports over the past month after Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower, released a trove of internal company documents to news outlets, lawmakers and regulators.
The reports show that the company is aware of many of the harms its apps and services cause but either doesn’t rectify the issues or struggles to address them. More documents are expected to be shared daily over the coming weeks.
In a call with analysts on Monday, Zuckerberg vehemently refuted the claims and critiques in the reports stemming from the documents provide by Haugen.
(Credit: CNN) — Facebook is planning to rebrand itself with a new name focused on the metaverse, the Verge reported on Tuesday, as the tech giant comes under fire from regulators around the world over its business practices.
The company plans to announce the new name next week, the Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook wants to be known for more than social media, according to the tech publication.
Facebook does not comment on rumor or speculation, a company spokesperson said in response to a question about the potential name change.
In addition to its flagship social media network, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. A name change could position the three mega platforms under an umbrella brand, similar to the structure used by Google, which sits under parent company Alphabet.
The name change may reflect Facebook’s direction. The metaverse refers to efforts to combine virtual and augmented reality technologies in a new online realm.
The idea is to create a space similar to the internet, where users (via digital avatars) can walk around and interact with one another in real time. In theory, users could sit around a virtual meeting table with remote colleagues, and then walk over to a virtual Starbucks to meet up with a friend.
Facebook announced earlier this week that it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to work on creating the metaverse.
A rebranding could be part of an effort to overhaul Facebook’s reputation following a tsunami of bad news linked to misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures and revelations about the negative effect its products have on some users’ mental health.
Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who used to work at Facebook as a product manager, testified earlier this month that the company is aware that its platforms are used to spread hate and misinformation but has failed to take action to prevent it. Facebook’s leaders have come under fire for allegedly choosing profit over health, and lawmakers have drawn comparisons to Big Tobacco.
Facebook has aggressively pushed back against the claims, calling many of them “misleading” and arguing that its apps do more good than harm.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to discuss the name change at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, according to the Verge.
A relatively small number of major companies have changed established brands. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan and the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. The social media company Snapchat rebranded as Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware.
Some high-profile name changes have followed scandal or controversy. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.