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

London: 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 that those high-skilled workers will help build “the metaverse,” a futuristic notion for connecting online that uses augmented and virtual reality.

The metaverse essentially is a massive virtual world that can be accessed by millions of people using avatars.Credit:AP

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 holidays with faraway loved ones via a headset or using a smartphone camera to improve an apartment virtually have not materialised 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 specialised 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 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 $US1 billion ($1.35 billion) from investors to help with its long-term plans for building the metaverse.

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