Facebook Announces New “Metaverse” Project Costing $50 Million

(RepublicanInformer.com)- This week, Facebook followed through on a promise that executives told their employees in July.

The social media platform will make a “$50 investment in global research and program partners to ensure these products are developed responsibly,” as the company announced in a blog post.

Back in July, The Verge released a report that said Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, told employees “the future of the company would go far beyond its current project of building a set of connected social apps and some hardware to support them.”

Instead, the big tech company would “strive to build a maximalist, interconnected set of experiences straight out of sci-fi — a world know as the metaverse.”

But, what is the metaverse?

Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of global affairs, and Andrew Bowsorth, the vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, explained it this way:

“The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.

“The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone. Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years. While that’s frustrating for those of us eager to dive right in, it gives us time to ask the difficult questions about how they should be built.”

Key areas that will apparently be included in this project are privacy, economic opportunity, equity and inclusion, and safety and integrity.

All of this, Facebook said, would be done “responsibly,” as if anything the platform does is responsible.

To carry out their project, Facebook plans to work with “experts in government, industry and academia to think through issues and opportunities in the metaverse.” They also plan to involve “human rights and civil rights communities from the start to ensure these technologies are built in a way that’s inclusive and empowering.”

To get the project off the ground, Facebook created the XR Programs and Research Fund. It’s a $50 investment over two years that will fund external research and programs to jumpstart the effort.

One of the initial partners in the program is the Organization of American States. According to Facebook, that group will work on development of skills and job training for creators, small business owners and even students.

Other partners include Electric South, Imisi3D and Africa No Filter. Women In Immersive Tech will come along for the ride, too, hoping to support “women and underrepresented groups driving Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors.”

Will Facebook be successful in this endeavor, or are they trying to reach too far? It’s likely that the latter will hold true, even if they do prove to be successful in doing so.