Facebook says it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform.
The company said in a blog post Sunday that those high-skilled workers will help build “the metaverse,” a futuristic notion for connecting people online that encompasses augmented and virtual reality.
Facebook executives have been touting the metaverse as the next big thing after the mobile internet as they also contend with other matters such as antitrust crackdowns, the testimony of a whistleblowing former employee and concerns about how the company handles vaccine-related and political misinformation on its platform.
In a separate blog post Sunday, the company defended its approach to combating hate speech, in response to a Wall Street Journal article that examined the company's inability to detect and remove hateful and excessively violent posts.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook executives said in a blog post that the initiative is a vote of confidence in Europe’s tech sector, and that they want to see the completion of a digital single market and stability on international data flows.
“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,” they said in the statement.
In the meanwhile, Reuters reports that the company earlier launched a test of a new virtual-reality remote work app where users of the company's Oculus Quest 2 headsets can hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves.
Facebook also said in July it was creating a product team to work on the metaverse which would be part of Facebook Reality Labs, its augmented reality and virtual reality group.
"This investment (in new jobs) is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent," the company said.
"Europe is hugely important to Facebook."
AFP reports that Facebook has unveiled fresh protections Wednesday against online attacks on journalists, activists and celebrities as the social media giant battles a crisis over its platforms' potential harms.
The company has faced a storm of criticism and a a Senate panel hearing since a whistleblower leaked internal studies showing Facebook knew its sites could be harmful to young people's mental health.
Frances Haugen, an ex-worker at the company, alleged the leading social network put profits before the safety of its users.
Facebook head of safety Antigone Davis announced the new protections, writing "we do not allow bullying and harassment on our platform, but when it does happen, we act."
Facebook expanded its range of banned "attacks" on public figures to include a range of sexual or degrading images of their bodies.
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