Virtual world “Metaverse”: Facebook announces 10,000 jobs in Europe

Status: 10/18/2021 2:53 a.m.

Facebook is under pressure after difficult weeks. But the group does not want to remain on the defensive and announces a large investment in a virtual world with a focus on Europe.

Facebook wants to create 10,000 new highly qualified jobs in the European Union in the next five years in order to build up the virtual world “Metaverse”. The announced Facebook manager Nick Clegg in a blog entry. “This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent,” wrote the British ex-vice-premier.

Facebook understands “Metaverse” as a world in which physical reality merges with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in a cyber world. The term comes from the American writer Neal Stephenson, who first used it in 1992 in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash”.

Svea Eckert, NDR, on the Facebook future project “Metaversum”

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., October 18, 2021

Difficult time for Facebook

Clegg said Facebook is at the beginning of a journey that will help build the platform of the future. “Together with partner companies, we are developing the ‘Metaverse’ – a new phase of networked, virtual experiences using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.” No individual company will own and operate the “Metaverse”. “Like the Internet, the Metaverse will be characterized by openness and interoperability,” said Clegg.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg had told his workforce in the summer that Facebook’s future would depend on the construction of a metaverse. So the announcement doesn’t come as a surprise.

Europe is extremely important for Facebook, emphasized Facebook manager Clegg. The EU has many advantages that make it a great investment location for technology companies.

Debate about splitting

The announcement by Facebook comes at a time when the US company is under massive pressure internationally. At a hearing in the US Senate in early October, the former Facebook manager and whistleblower Frances Haugen called on politicians to force the online network to be more transparent. The 37-year-old accused Facebook, among other things, of having known from internal studies that Instagram was damaging to the mental health of some teenagers – but nothing was done about it. The company also produced negative headlines because an error in the network settings led to a six-hour downtime on Facebook and its subsidiaries Whatsapp and Instagram.

In the USA and also in the European Union, regulation or the split-up of the group is therefore being discussed. For example, the EU is advising on two bills, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. They are supposed to regulate the internet, for example with personalized advertising and illegal content.

With information from Katharina Wilhelm, ARD Studio Los Angeles

For “Metaversum”: Facebook wants to create 10,000 new jobs in the EU

Katharina Wilhelm, ARD Los Angeles, October 18, 2021 6:11 am

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