With a new goal to hire 10,000 new employees to work on its metaverse project, Facebook is taking the next steps toward becoming a 'metaverse company.' Importantly, all the new employees will be based in Europe.
According to Facebook:
“Today, we’re announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years. This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent.”
As it tries to construct its metaverse features, Facebook will considerably increase its operations in the EU as part of the new recruiting push. Facebook sees the growing metaverse concept as a critical opportunity for it to connect its social, AR, and VR capabilities on a new level, and advance with the next key stage of digital connectedness.
In simpler terms, the metaverse is a virtual environment (or worlds) in which users will be able to communicate with one another through digital representations of themselves, or character avatars. The notion is that the metaverse will simulate real life in a fluid, interactive digital realm where people may socialize, play games, shop, work, and so on. Essentially, any interaction that you can have in real life will theoretically be possible in the metaverse, with the added ability to incorporate digital elements to expand your communication in the area.
Many businesses have been working toward this goal for years, but with the advancement of virtual reality and the extended WFH shift caused by the pandemic, it is now a much more practical concept that more people can and will be trying to implement in the near future.
It's unclear how the metaverse will take shape in and of itself, but given Facebook's involvement in numerous important aspects of the concept, it's not surprising to see The Social Network a core element of the broader metaverse infrastructure.
However, as Facebook points out:
“No one company will own and operate the metaverse. Like the internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability. Bringing this to life will take collaboration and cooperation across companies, developers, creators and policymakers.”
That seems a little like a 'yeah, but' remark, as if Facebook is arguing that no single business can own the metaverse, but it still believes it can, at least to some extent.
Given the company's multiple ongoing issues in the region, the decision to base these new employees in Europe is particularly noteworthy.
Facebook is continuously working with European regulators on a variety of fronts to ensure that it complies with the region's developing data privacy, consumer protection, antitrust, and other standards. Earlier this year, several European-based organizations began the preliminary stages of legal action against Facebook for past data leaks, which they are now able to do as part of Europe's GDPR rules, while Facebook is also facing several antitrust investigations in the region, along with investigations into how it uses data to target ads and how it protects (or does not protect) younger users.
Given the breadth of Facebook's regulatory and legal difficulties, it makes sense for the corporation to enhance its contribution to the EU economy as a means of gaining additional leverage and potential leniency in such matters.
That, of course, is the skeptic's point of view — Facebook, for one, claims:
“European companies are at the cutting edge of several fields, whether it’s the German biotech helping to develop the first-ever MRNA vaccine or the coalition of European neo-banks leading the future of finance. Spain is seeing record levels of investment into startups solving everything from online grocery delivery to neuroelectronics, while Sweden is on its way to becoming the world’s first cashless society by 2023.”
Both may be true in theory, but it's intriguing to see Facebook declare such a large investment in a specific region for a specialized tech initiative.
In any case, Facebook's metaverse plans are moving forward, and while we won't know exactly what form this aspect will take for a while, it should help safeguard Facebook's viability in the future.