Over the next week or so, the beleaguered social media colossus Facebook will rebrand itself as something akin to a play on the metaverse — a hypothetical digital reality where people can virtually mingle, work and play. Its detractors say the extreme makeover is part of a concerted effort by the social media giant to shed its image as a toxic platform better known for amplifying hate speech and fake news as well as for using surreptitiously gathered data to boost engagement and advertising sales.

Few companies in history have wielded as much power or have been as hated as Facebook is today. With over two billion users addicted to its platforms — Instagram, WhatsApp as well as the core Facebook — the social media giant has been slowly shedding users, and by its own admission, even advertisers. It blames Apple’s new ad tracking tools for slump in advertising revenues.

Facebook currently has a market value of over US$960 billion ($1.2 trillion) making it the sixth largest company on Earth. Its stock plunged 16% after a whistleblower appeared before the US Congress earlier this month, and another testified in the British Parliament.

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