Facebook is investing $ 50 million in the “responsible” development of the metaverse

Briefly about immersion:

  • Facebook is investing $ 50 million to help develop the so-called metaworld more responsibly, according to a September 27 blog post. The social giant’s announcement also aims to define the vague term “metaverse” as a digital world between different devices where people can explore and communicate with others with whom they are not physically present.
  • As Facebook focuses on researching and creating a metaverse, which it calls the “next computing platform,” the social giant plans to work with a number of partners, including politicians; researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Howard University; industry stakeholders; and organizations such as Women in Immersive Tech, Africa No Filter, Electric South, and the Organization of American States.
  • According to the announcement, the new XR Fund for Research and Development will invest money around the world for two years to provide meta-universe technology with inclusiveness, confidentiality, security and economic opportunities in mind.

Diving Insight:

Until this week, Facebook’s latest meta universe was a platform called Horizon Workrooms, a beta application that allows Oculus users to meet in virtual reality (VR) with colleagues. Now, it seems, the social networking giant is using a slightly different path to creating a metaverse, focusing on research and scale, while portraying itself as a responsible technology partner.

This news follows a series of negative developments around the set of social platforms Facebook. On September 27, the company announced it was suspending Instagram aimed at children after a report in The Wall Street Journal claimed that Facebook knew that Instagram was harmful to teenage girls. The social media giant has also said it is working to be more transparent about the posts that its algorithms hide from users’ news feeds. Despite these and other efforts, Facebook continues to get embroiled in controversy: earlier in September, it apologized to researchers for providing inaccurate data, and its supervisory board recently asked for more information on how the platform moderates its celebrities differently.

Although Facebook is introducing a new fund announced this week as a meta-universe, it seems to be focusing on the realm of mixed reality more broadly. The company is already investing significant research in the AR / VR space, including funding for research into the social impact of AR nasal devices and attracting “reliable” VR equipment offerings, indicating that the company has the experience and global infrastructure to help support “the next computer platform “. ». However, $ 50 million is a modest sum for a large company like Facebook, and does not seem to match the importance it already attaches to AR / VR or the potential impact of the metaworld in the future.

Brands such as Croge Royal, Coca-Cola and Hyundai from Diageo have begun to engage in a new space of the metaverse to connect with consumers in a vibrant digital manner. Playing with virtual spaces or selling digital goods at auction – such as fixed tokens (NFT) – are the most popular ways in which brands have explored the metaverse.

However, the general familiarity with the high-profile term remains low. According to a Wunderman Thompson Intelligence study, only 38% of global consumers surveyed are familiar with the metaverse. The report also found that two-thirds of respondents prefer to engage brands in digital form, indicating a strong appetite for activations that blur the line between digital and physical space.

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