More than 10,000 people are likely to be hired by social media giant Facebook in the European Union for the purpose of developing a so-called metaverse.
A metaverse is described as an online world where users are able to play games, work and communicate with each other in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.
One of the leading voices of this concept has been Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
This move by Facebook follows a tormenting period for the company when it was pulled up in various parts of the world over allegations of the company being involved in a damaging scandal, of it being unable to curb hate speech and misinformation on its platform, consequently culminating in calls for greater regulation of the company to vut down on its market influence.
“The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“Highly specialised engineers” will be included in the new hirings for jobs that would be created over the next five years.
A number of benefits were cited by Facebook for investing in the EU which included the company gaining access to a big consumer market, first-class universities and high-quality talent.
One of the big priorities for Facebook has been building the metaverse.
The metaverse “won’t be built overnight by a single company”, Facebook said even though Facebook has a history of acquiring its rivals. The company has also pledged to collaborate.
The company had recently made an investment of $50m for funding non-profit groups to help “build the metaverse responsibly”. The company hwoever believes that it would be at least 10 to 15 years for the true metaverse idea to mature.
But this latest move by the company has been criticised by some who argue that this move by Facebook is aimed at re-establishing the reputation of the company and to divert attention of the world from the series of damaging scandals in recent months.
The scandals included the most recent one ushered in by the revelation by whistleblower Frances Haugen, who was a former product manager on the civic integrity team at Facebook.
According to revelations of Haugen, internal research conducted by Facebook had found that Instagram, owned and operated by the company, had a negative impact on the mental health of teenagers. Despite this, Haugen alleged that the findings were not shared by Facebook even when the research findings suggested that Instagram was a “toxic” place for many youngsters.
(Adapted from BBC.com)