Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union over the next five years to help build its metaverse, the social media giant has announced.
The social network announced in July that it was creating a product team to work on the metaverse, which would sit within Facebook Reality Labs, its augmented reality and virtual reality group.
In September, it committed $50m (£36.4m) towards building the online world, while the likes of Roblox and Epic Games having an early stake in it.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a concept that is being talked about as the next big advancement in tech.
Fans of the DC Comic world, the Ready Player One novel or The Matrix will be familiar with the term but with Facebook’s most recent announcement, the fictional idea could soon become a reality. But what does this mean?
Facebook describes it as a “set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you”.
“You will be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more,” Facebook said.
It is more than just a sophisticated version of Club Penguin or a souped-up version of virtual reality. In theory, it will allow people to do practically anything in this virtual space – whether this is work, play, attend events or simply socialise with friends.
Most experts believe people will have a 3D avatar, which is used as a representation of the user in this world.
The latest announcement brings Mark Zuckerberg’s company a step closer to creating its so-called metaverse.
It has previously tested a VR remote working app on its Oculus platform, which allowed users to use the Quest 2 headset to hold meetings using avatar versions of themselves.
“Interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person,” Facebook said.
“We’re announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years.
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“This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent.
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“Europe is hugely important to Facebook. From the thousands of employees in the EU to the millions of businesses using our apps and tools every day, Europe is a big part of our success, as Facebook is invested in the success of European companies and the wider economy.
“This is an exciting time for European tech. The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies to invest – a large consumer market, first-class universities and, crucially, top-quality talent.”
Facebook has previously committed to building a virtual space responsibly.
It said it will work with experts in government, industry and academia, as “its success depends on building robust interoperability across services, so different companies’ experiences can work together.”
And while Facebook has a reputation for buying rivals, it states that the metaverse will “encourage competition” and “maintain a thriving digital economy”.