Facebook announced Sunday that it is hiring 10,000 European workers to build its metaverse platform. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Facebook has announced plans to hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years to develop its new platform.
The social media behemoth announced the plan in a statement Sunday, explaining the workers will be hired to develop what it calls the metaverse, which will allow users an interconnected virtual experience through the use of virtual and augment reality.
"Europe is hugely important to Facebook," Facebook executives Nick Clegg and Javier Olivan wrote in a blog post. "This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent."
Facebook said it will be working with European Union governments on its upcoming recruitment drive, stating the region has a number of advantages such as a large consumer market and top rated universities.
It said EU companies were at the cutting edge in several fields and it believes its workers are "world-leading."
"Beyond emerging tech talent, the EU also has an important role to play in shaping the new rules of the Internet," the pair of executives said. "European policy makers are leading the way in helping to embed European values like free expression, privacy, transparency and the rights of individuals into the day-to-day workings of the Internet."
The company has placed its metaverse as a top priority, and last month announced a $50 million investment in global research and program partners to aid its development.
The metaverse, it said, will attempt to create a platform that makes interacting online closer to the experience of interacting in person.
The company explained that the metaverse is a set of virtual spaces one can create and explore with others who aren't in the same physical location.
"The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities," the executives said. "And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start."
However, many of the metaverse products aren't expected to be available for at least a decade.
"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," the company said in late September.
The announcement comes as Facebook deals with fallout after former employee Frances Haugen leaked documents showing it puts profits before the public.
Haugen has testified before the Senate and the European Parliament, stating that Facebook knew its platforms, which include Instagram and WhatsApp, were potentially harmful, particularly for teenage girls, and amplified hate speech and misinformation.
Facebook said Haugen is to meet with its oversight board in the coming weeks to discuss her "experiences and gather information that can help push for greater transparency and accountability from Facebook."