Friday, December 3

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg presents ‘metaverse’ vision at developer event

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Facebook Inc said Thursday it would change its name to Meta, a name change that comes as the company battles criticism from lawmakers and regulators about its market power, algorithmic decisions and surveillance of abuse on its platforms.

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The tech giant said the change would unite its different applications and technologies under a new brand. He said he would not change his corporate structure.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the company’s live-streamed augmented and virtual reality conference, said the new name reflected its focus on building the metaverse.

The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now drawing buzz in Silicon Valley, broadly refers to the idea of ​​a shared virtual environment that can be accessed by people using different devices.

Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg said privacy and security should be built into the metaverse as he opened the company’s annual virtual and augmented reality conference on Thursday.

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Facebook continues to fight criticism about its market power, content moderation practices, and damage linked to its social media platforms. The tech giant, which reports over 2.9 billion monthly users, has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years from global lawmakers and regulators.

In the latest controversy, whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked documents that she claimed showed the company chose profits over user safety. Zuckerberg earlier this week said the documents were being used to paint a “false picture.”

The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now drawing buzz in Silicon Valley, broadly refers to the idea of ​​a shared virtual environment that can be accessed by people using different devices.

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Zuckerberg has been increasingly promoting the idea of ​​Facebook, which has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, as a “meta-reverse” company rather than a social network.

The CEO, speaking during the live-streamed Facebook Connect event, gave examples of privacy and security controls that would be necessary in the metaverse, such as the ability to block someone from appearing in your space. Zuckerberg is betting that the metaverse will be the next great computing platform, calling it “the successor to the mobile Internet.”

The whistleblower documents, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, show internal investigations and employee discussions about the effects of Instagram on teens’ mental health and whether Facebook stokes divisions, as well as its handling of the activity surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and inconsistencies in content moderation for users around the world.

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The company provided a host of updates for its virtual reality and augmented reality products. He said this year he would launch a way for people using their Oculus VR headsets to call their friends using Facebook Messenger and for people to invite others to a social version of their home, dubbed “Horizon Home,” to talk and play. as avatars.

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Facebook also said it would introduce a way for Oculus Quest users to use different 2D applications like Slack, Dropbox and Facebook while in this virtual reality “Horizon Home” space.

The company, which began beta testing its “Horizon Workrooms” virtual meeting spaces earlier this year, said it was working on ways to customize them with company logos and designs and said it would bring more work capabilities to devices. Consumer quest. It also announced new fitness offerings for Oculus Quest users.

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Facebook said this week that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is responsible for AR and VR efforts, would become a separate reporting unit and that its investment in it would reduce this year’s total operating profit by around $ 10 billion.

This year, Facebook created a product team focused on the metaverse and recently announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over the next five years to work on the effort.

Facebook also said it will run a $ 150 million educational program aimed at helping AR and VR creators and developers.

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