Posted Oct 18, 2021, 7:01 AMUpdated Oct 18, 2021, 3:25 PM
At the house of Facebook, the “metaverse” dear to Mark Zuckerberg is beginning to take shape. The first social network on the planet will recruit 10,000 people in five years in Europe to build this “computer platform of the future”, announces the group. A fairly significant wave of recruitment, knowing that the American giant now employs around 58,000 people worldwide, all trades combined.
Appearing for the first time in 1992 in an American science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, the metaverse designates a new space where virtual experiences would be as rich and complete as in the real world, thanks to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality. (AR). Mark Zuckerberg has taken over the concept and made it a strategic priority this summer. The founding patron has given himself five years to make Facebook a metaverse company. According to him, this concept could even succeed the mobile Internet which has enabled the rise of Facebook since the 2010s.
Mark Zuckerberg defines it as an “Internet embodied” in which users literally “enter” the content, and no longer just watch it. With the metaverse, experiences that are impossible on the Internet (like dancing) will become possible. For Facebook, the interest is to diversify beyond online advertising (which is increasingly prohibited) and to prepare for the future. But all of this will require “new protocols and standards, new equipment, chips and software,” Mark Zuckerberg explained to analysts this summer. Hence these recruitments.
3D meeting room
Today, Facebook’s metaverse project is being spearheaded in California by Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s new chief technology officer who was already leading the augmented and virtual reality business. The social networking giant has already launched concrete applications, such as Horizon Workrooms, a collaborative work tool that can be accessed through Oculus Quest 2… Facebook’s virtual reality headset.
The user can thus create his avatar and enter a 3D meeting room comprising up to 50 people, then discuss via voice chat, share his screen, etc. Despite the limited success of its Oculus headsets, Facebook has also just launched its first $300 connected glasses with Ray-Ban, allowing you to take photos and videos on the fly. Another small step towards the metaverse.
The novelty is that Facebook wants to anchor the concept in Europe. “It is the Europeans who will shape it from the start”, even announces Nick Clegg, the vice-president in charge of public affairs. “Europe is at the heart of our success, just as Europe is part of the success of European businesses and the wider economy. »
Facebook does not specify how many jobs will be created in each of the bloc’s 27 states. But it will primarily be “highly specialized” engineers. “We have long believed that European talent is the world leader,” explains Facebook in a message that sounds like an ode to the capacity for innovation of the Old Continent.
Because this recruitment plan is also a clever way for the social network to take root more in Europe, at a time when Brussels is preparing its future tech regulatory framework with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA ). Despite these two regulations, Facebook says it wants to “continue to innovate in Europe, for Europe”. But on one condition: no brilliance of the European digital market in 27 national markets.
Facebook indeed fears that the DSA will split up the market with Latin countries on one side and Germanic or Scandinavian countries on the other, the latter not having the same conception of content moderation. Another requirement of Facebook, the “stability of international data flows”. However, in 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU had invalidated the Privacy Shield, this agreement which since 2016 has governed data transfers between the United States and the EU. To the grandmother of Facebook.