Facebook says it will create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years to build its highly anticipated metaverse — a digital platform that utilizes technology such as virtual and augmented reality that the company says has the potential to unlock new creative, social and economic opportunities.

Fast facts

  • According to a company blog post, the social media giant will be focusing its hiring efforts in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland, and said the move is a “vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent.” The company also said that EU policymakers have an important role to play in shaping internet regulation and that Facebook shares European values such as free expression, privacy and transparency.
  • The move comes amid debate in the EU parliament, however, over multiple bills aimed at addressing anticompetitive behavior and general illegal content on large tech platforms, including Facebook. While yet to pass, infractions against these bills could involve massive fines. Facebook has said it is broadly in support of such regulation, though has pushed back against some proposed elements.
  • Company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines in July when he announced Facebook’s plans to build a metaverse, saying an immersive digital world in three-dimensional space is closer to how humans are meant to interact with each other — rather than simply by looking through two-dimensional screens. This vision of a metaverse is not just limited to social interaction, but also a place for games and commerce.
  • The idea of a metaverse is already being explored in other areas, particularly through integration with blockchain technology. Auction house Sotheby’s is currently holding a non-fungible token (NFT) art auction that is taking place in its own metaverse, enabling prospective buyers to explore and interact with artwork in a three-dimensional space as their own custom avatar — which is of course an NFT itself.
  • Another of Facebook’s ambitious projects nears completion as well. In late August, the company’s head of payments and financial services division David Marcus wrote that the digital wallet Novi was ready for launch. The Novi wallet was designed to leverage the Facebook-backed digital currency Diem, which was rebranded from Libra following regulatory pushback surrounding Facebook’s involvement in the project. Marcus highlighted the currency’s ability to serve unbanked populations in developing economies where Facebook has a strong presence, such as the Philippines.