Facebook is to create thousands of jobs across the European Union as it seeks to expand its Metaverse concept.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had in July this year revealed how the firm wants to transition from social media to ‘metaverse’ technology, creating immersive experiences that connect to work, games and real-world events.

Zuckerberg said he wants the company to become increasingly focused on creating “metaverse” experiences over the next five years.

Image credit: Facebook

What is Metaverse?

The term, coined from science fiction, refers to the use of VR technology to create a semi-autonomous virtual world that’s interconnected with physical reality.

Zuckerberg in the summer described the concept as an “embodied internet” where “instead of just viewing content – you are in it”, and said it could have benefits for people living far from large urban centres.

He said “metaverse” technology would also allow people to be “engaged more naturally” with technology, rather than living through “small, glowing rectangles”.

Zuckerberg said metaverse technology could allow people to experience a concert in 3D after watching it on a mobile phone screen.

He also discussed the idea of an “infinite office” that would allow users to create their ideal workplace using VR.

“Instead of just doing this over a phone call, you’ll be able to sit as a hologram on my couch, or I’ll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it’ll actually feel like we’re in the same place, even if we’re in different states or hundreds of miles apart,” he said.

“Flattening out distance creates a lot more opportunities for people,” he added, noting that within five to 10 years “about half” of Facebook itself is likely to be working remotely.

European jobs

To help fulfil this ambition, Facebook has this week announced it is creating 10,000 new jobs at Facebook across the European Union.

There is no word on any jobs for the UK.

“Facebook is at the start of a journey to help build the next computing platform,” the firm said. “Working with others, we’re developing what is often referred to as the metaverse – a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality. And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start.”

It said it was “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.”

Facebook said that Europe is hugely important to the firm, where it already employees thousands of people. It said that the large consumer market in the EU, coupled with first class universities and, crucially, top-quality talent, makes it an attractive place to invest.

“We have long believed that European talent is world-leading, which is why we have invested in it so heavily over the years — from funding grants at the Technical University of Munich, to opening our first major European AI research lab and FAIR accelerator programme in France and Facebook Reality Labs office in Cork,” Facebook said.

And Facebook pointed out that the EU also has an important role to play in shaping the new rules of the internet.

“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialiaed engineers is one of Facebook’s most pressing priorities,” it said. “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.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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