Facebook is planning to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years to help build the metaverse, which it describes as a set of virtual spaces where people can interact with others who aren’t in the same physical space as them.
The metaverse aims to make interacting online much closer to the experience of interacting in person by creating a far improved sense of a virtual presence.
Facebook says that the metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities.
Interest in the metaverse has intensified following the coronavirus pandemic, which has shifted meetings online through applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
“No one company will own and operate the metaverse,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, in a blog post.
“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.”
Facebook, which has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), including buying companies like Oculus, intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps.
Zuckerberg believes the metaverse would be accessible across VR, AR, PC, mobile devices and game consoles.
- Read more Understanding the metaverse
Facebook said that investing in the EU offers many advantages, including access to a large consumer market, first-class universities and high-quality talent.
Facebook has made building the metaverse one of its big priorities. Last month, it announced that it is investing $50m (£36.3m) in funding non-profit groups to help build the metaverse. But it thinks the true metaverse idea will take another 10 to 15 years.
Facebook did not say what roles it would hire for and where they would be based. “This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent,” said Clegg.
“We look forward to working with governments across the EU to find the right people and the right markets to take this forward, as part of an upcoming recruitment drive across the region.”
The announcement comes as Facebook faces antitrust probes in the region, and has been loudly criticised over online safety and hate speech on its platform.