As the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg puts it, Meta (formerly Facebook) plans to build a ‘metaverse’ to give people an experience of Virtual and Augmented Reality where they can be present with another person who is not physically near so they can “get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, and create.”
Zuckerberg live-streamed a conference on Facebook Connect to make the announcement.
“In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. You will be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint,” read a statement issued by Zuckerberg.
Further, the statement added, “You’ll move across these experiences on different devices — augmented reality glasses to stay present in the physical world, virtual reality to be fully immersed, and phones and computers to jump in from existing platforms.”
The company also announced a two-year $50 million investment in global research programs partnering with organisations across the world such as Harvard University.
The announcement comes amidst the negative attention that the social networking giant has been getting over the last few months regarding unwarranted data collection and lax policies to control hate speeches.
Earlier this month, Facebook was embroiled in controversy after ex-employee Frances Haugen leaked documents from the company to the media accusing it of putting monetary gains over user safety. The company also took heat for its failure to curb hate speech and misinformation across the world.
In the conference on Thursday, Zuckerberg mentioned that the new technologies being developed by the company will be done with the involvement of human rights and civil rights communities to ensure that they are built in a way that is inclusive. He further mentioned that the company will be more transparent regarding what data is collected and how and when it is utilised, as well as provide easy-to-use safety controls and parental guidance mechanisms.