Facebook will hire 10,000 new high-skilled workers across Europe over the next five years to build a digital world called the “metaverse”.
It is a term used to describe a virtual space where multiple people can exist and communicate within a 3D environment, using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.
The social media giant said Europe will be at the heart of shaping the metaverse from the start, which will help bring new creative, social, and economic opportunities to the European Union.
“Europe is hugely important to Facebook,” the company said in a blog post on Sunday night. “From the thousands of employees in the EU, to the millions of businesses using our apps and tools every day, Europe is a big part of our success, as Facebook is in the success of European companies and the wider economy.”
As it begins the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, Facebook said there is a “need for highly specialised engineers”.
Mark Zuckerberg and his company have made the metaverse one of their top priorities. Facebook first unveiled its plans to build the metaverse in July, touting it as the next stage of how people experience the internet. In September, Facebook committed to investing $50m (£36m) in a global research programme to develop it “responsibly”.
Facebook defined its vision for the metaverse as a virtual space where people can “hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more”.
The company claimed that it does not necessitate being online more but being online in a “more meaningful” way. “Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. And it won’t be built overnight,” Facebook said in September. “The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone.”
Its target markets for hiring include Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland. The UK will miss out after exiting the EU last year following 47 years of membership.
Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats who is now Facebook’s head of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, its vice-president of central products, said this is an exciting time for European tech.
“The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies to invest — a large consumer market, first-class universities and, crucially, top-quality talent,” they wrote in a blog post on Sunday.
The company added: “We look forward to working with governments across the EU to find the right people and the right markets to take this forward, as part of an upcoming recruitment drive across the region.
“And as Facebook continues to grow in Europe, we hope to invest more in its talent and continue to innovate in Europe, for Europe and the world.”
Facebook recently unveiled “Horizon Workrooms”, a collaboration app where people can hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves in a virtual reality space with the help of the company’s Oculus Quest headsets.