ALL NEWS

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in Europe to build ‘metaverse’

Oct 18, 2021, 5:22 PM
FILE - In this April 14, 2020 file photo, the thumbs up Like logo is shown on a sign at Facebook he...
FILE - In this April 14, 2020 file photo, the thumbs up Like logo is shown on a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook says it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform. The company said in a blog post Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 that those high-skilled workers will help build “the metaverse,” a futuristic notion for connecting people online that uses augmented and virtual reality. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

LONDON (AP) — Facebook said it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform that promises to connect people virtually but could raise concerns about privacy and the social platform gaining more control over people’s online lives.

The company said in a blog post on Sunday that those high-skilled workers will help build “the metaverse,” a futuristic notion for connecting online that uses augmented and virtual reality.

Facebook executives have been touting the metaverse as the next big thing after the mobile internet, though their track record is spotty on predicting future trends. Expectations that CEO Mark Zuckerberg made four years ago of taking virtual vacations with faraway loved ones via a headset or using a smartphone camera to improve an apartment virtually have not materialized so far.

The company also is contending with antitrust crackdowns, the testimony of whistleblowing former employees and concerns about how it handles vaccine-related and political misinformation.

“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook’s most pressing priorities,” according to the blog post from Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, vice president of central products.

Facebook’s recruiters are targeting Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland for the hiring drive. The company as of June reported having more than 63,000 employees worldwide, up 21% from the same time last year.

The metaverse essentially is a massive virtual world that can be accessed in real-time by millions of people using avatars, who can use it to hold virtual meetings or buy virtual land and clothing or other digital assets, often paying with cryptocurrencies.

The social network isn’t the only one working on the metaverse, and Facebook acknowledged that no single company will own and operate it. Other players include Fortnite maker Epic Games, which has raised $1 billion from investors to help with its long-term plans for building the metaverse.

“There’s not going to be specific metaverses to specific companies. There’s only going to be one metaverse,” said Tuong Nguyen, an analyst who tracks immersive technologies for research firm Gartner.

But there are concerns Facebook and a handful of other Silicon Valley giants would end up monopolizing the metaverse and use it to collect and profit from personal data, mirroring the situation now with the internet.

Facebook last month announced a $50 million investment to fund global research and partnerships with civil rights groups, nonprofits, governments and universities to develop products responsibly for the metaverse. But the company added that it would probably take 10 to 15 years to “fully realize” many of those products.

The term metaverse was coined by writer Neal Stephenson for his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash” but has recently found new life in the tech business world as startups and tech giants try to stake their claim on an emerging trend.

Some of that involves a “little bit of metaverse-washing,” or applying the term to existing initiatives in augmented reality and other technologies to take advantage of the hype around it, Nguyen said.

“It will help raise their profile, at least for the moment, as one of the leaders in metaverse initiatives,” he said of Facebook’s latest push. “But like any big technology trend, there will be competing ideas and competing standards.”

In a separate blog post Sunday, Facebook defended its approach to combating hate speech, in response to a Wall Street Journal article that examined the company’s inability to detect and remove hateful and excessively violent posts.

A British parliamentary committee that’s working on online safety legislation was set to hear from two Facebook whistleblowers. The bill proposes big fines or other penalties for internet companies that don’t remove and limit the spread of harmful material such as child sexual abuse or terrorist content.

Sophie Zhang, a data scientist who raised the alarm after finding evidence of online political manipulation in countries such as Honduras and Azerbaijan before she was fired, appeared before the committee Monday. She said social media companies should be required to apply policies consistently, adding that it’s not what happened at Facebook.

Fake accounts that weren’t directly tied to a political figure were easier to take down than those that weren’t, she said.

This resulted in a “perverse effect in that it creates an incentive for major political figures to essentially commit a crime openly,” Zhang said. She compared it to police taking a year to arrest a burglar who was a member of Parliament and didn’t wear a mask.

“That’s an analogy of what is going on at Facebook,” Zhang said.

Next week, the committee will hear from Frances Haugen, who went public with internal Facebook research that she copied before leaving her job earlier this year. Haugen testified before a U.S. Senate panel this month about her accusations Facebook’s platforms harm children and incite political violence, and her British appearance will be the start of a tour to meet European lawmakers and regulators.
___
O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Police are looking for a shooting suspect, after a man was found with a critical gunshot wound in S...
Kate Davis and Simone Seikaly

One man wounded, suspect on the run after Glendale shooting

Glendale police said the shooting happened Wednesday night near 1665 South Riverside Drive, not far from the Jordan River.
8 hours ago
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA, USA - FEBRUARY 2: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Tuesday  morning 6 more wee...
Scottie Andrew, CNN

The bizarre history of Groundhog Day

So how did Groundhog Day go from a kooky local tradition to an annual celebration even those of us who don't worry about winter can find the fun in?
8 hours ago
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, pictured here, in Ahmedabad India on April 2, 2014 abandoned a dea...
By Mark Thompson, CNN

Adani scraps $2.5 billion share sale as value of his empire collapses

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani on Wednesday abandoned a deal to raise $2.5 billion from investors after a week-long meltdown in the value of his logistics and energy business empire that started when an American short seller accused the conglomerate of fraud.
8 hours ago
Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers, Armani Kelly, 28...
By Michelle Watson and Amy Simonson, CNN

3 rappers have been missing for 10 days since their scheduled performance was canceled, Detroit police say

Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers who went missing 10 days ago after a performance at a club was canceled, Detroit police said.
8 hours ago
A herd of elk ended up on the roadways near I-80 and Foothill Boulevard on Thursday, Jan 26, 2023. ...
Mark Jones

Four elk killed as herd gets too close to I-215 and I-80

Four elk were killed Wednesday after a herd of elk got too close to I-215 and I-80. Two of the elk were struck and killed by vehicles. The other two had to be euthanized after being hit.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City police are investigating a shooting Wednesday night that sent one person to the hosp...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City police investigating shooting, one person hurt

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City police are investigating a shooting Wednesday night.  Police say the shooting occurred in the area of 1665 S. Riverside Drive at 6:43 p.m. One person was transported by ambulance to an area hospital in critical condition.  Police have been unable to locate a suspect. They say the suspect […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in Europe to build ‘metaverse’