Facebook announced this Monday (27) that it will invest US$ 50 million in the creation of the metaverse: a set of virtual reality spaces where people can meet and talk, even without being together. The amount, according to Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, and Nick Clegg, vice president of Global Affairs and Communications, will be earmarked for external research projects for two years.
Along with the investment, Facebook also announced the creation of two research programs to promote the metaverse: the XR and Research Fund Programs. Through them, the social network seeks to strengthen ties with “partners in industry, civil rights groups, governments, non-profit organizations and academic institutions”.
Executives Bosworth — who will soon assume the post of Executive Director of Technology at Facebook — and Clegg also disclosed that the company already has some institutional partners to help build the metaverse.
The company has partnered with the OAS (Organization of American States) — a legislative bloc of legal discussion that unites countries on the American continent — to train students, content creators and SME owners to adjust to the “digital economy” of the Facebook universe .
The metaverse, according to Facebook, will be a digital world of augmented reality, where users will be able to meet at a distance across Facebook’s various platforms and services; she wants the help of policymakers, industry experts, and academics to formulate what this new universe will look like. In the note, the executives explain the possibilities of the metaverse:
“You can be with your friends, work, play, learn, buy, create and more. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online, but making the time you’re online more meaningful.”
Also according to the note, Facebook does not want the metaverse to be a world restricted to its own ecosystem, but rather a product that the company cannot develop alone. “Like the internet, the metaverse exists regardless of whether Facebook is there or not”, add Bosworth and Clegg, who predict a 10 to 15-year delay for products linked to the new Facebook ecosystem “to become a reality”.
Some of the key points that the company wants to work on with academics, industry and government spokespersons:
- economic opportunity: according to Facebook, the metaverse should boost its own digital economy
- Privacy: the social network wants to minimize the amount of data collected and build technologies so that the use of data is protected, keeping the entire treatment process transparent
- Security and Integrity: here Facebook defines the use of tools that can be activated if the user feels uncomfortable inside the metaverse
- equity and inclusion: the metaverse must have technologies accessible to all and with an inclusive design
In addition to the OAS, Facebook will collaborate with virtual reality and storytelling projects that work with content creators in Africa, through the social network program “Amplyfing African Voices”, and with women and minorities who are in leadership positions in the sector. of VR in Europe — the social network will collaborate with the Women in Immersive Tech initiative.
By defining investment funds for the metaverse, Facebook clarifies its plans for Facebook Reality Labs, which now has members of other social networks from Zuckerberg’s group, such as Instagram.
Facebook lives turmoil by scandals
The moment, however, is delicate for the company. Last week, two shareholder lawsuits leaked to the press reveal accusations that Facebook executives shielded Mark Zuckerberg from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
After the data leak of 87 million users, Zuckerberg would have been put as a suspect in an investigation by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), but high-ranking officials decided to pay “extra” in a fine imposed by the agency to prevent the CEO from being investigated. .
In addition, the WSJ obtained internal reports from Facebook that point to the existence of an “XCheck” or “Cross Check” department that gives privileged treatment to accounts of famous people and prominent figures in relation to “ordinary” users. The social network would also be aware that Instagram is toxic to teenage girls. The scandal caused Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO, to suspend “Instagram Kids”
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