Facebook announces 10,000 jobs in EU to create ‘metaverse’


Facebook on Monday announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the “metaverse,” a virtual reality version of the Internet that the tech giant sees as the future.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice in the Silicon Valley hype around the idea of ​​the metaverse, which would blur the lines between the physical world and the digital world.

Technology could, for example, allow someone to wear virtual reality glasses that make them feel like they’re face to face with a friend – when in fact they’re thousands of miles away. one another and connected via the Internet.

“The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities. And Europeans will shape it from the start, ”Facebook said in a blog post.

“Today we are announcing a plan to create 10,000 new highly skilled jobs in the European Union (EU) over the next five years.”

European hires will include “highly skilled engineers,” but the company has otherwise given few details on its plans for the new Metaverse team.

“The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies – a large consumer market, top-class universities and, most importantly, top-quality talent,” the blog said.

Distraction from the bad news?

The announcement comes as Facebook grapples with the fallout from a damaging scandal, major service outages and growing calls for regulation to limit its vast influence.

The company has faced a storm of criticism over the past month after a former employee Francoise Haugen leaked internal studies showing that Facebook knew its sites could be harmful to the mental health of young people.

The Washington Post last month suggested that Facebook’s interest in the metaverse is “part of a larger effort to rehabilitate the company’s reputation with policymakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next wave internet technologies.” .

But Zuckerberg also appears to be a true evangelist of the dawn of the Age of the Metaverse, predicting in July that Facebook will go from “primarily a social media business to a metaverse business” over the next five years.

Facebook bought Oculus, a company that makes virtual reality headsets, for $ 2 billion in 2014 and has since developed Horizon, a digital world where people can interact using VR technology.

In August, he unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a feature where colleagues wearing VR headsets can hold meetings in a virtual room where they all appear as cartoonish 3D versions of themselves.

Blur the lines

Metaverse enthusiasts point out that the Internet is already beginning to blur the lines between virtual and “real” experiences.

Stars like the pop diva Ariana Grande and the rapper Travis Scott played for a large audience, watching at home, via the hit video game Fortnite.

In Decentraland, another online platform widely regarded as a precursor to the metaverse, you can already get a job as a dealer in its virtual casino.

“No company will own and operate the metaverse. Like the Internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability, ”Facebook said in its blog post.

It’s not the only company investing millions in developing technology that could turn a full-fledged version of the Metaverse into reality.

Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, announced earlier this year that it had raised $ 1 billion in new funding, with some of that money going to support its vision for the metaverse.

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