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Facebook invests $50 million to build the ‘metaverse’ in responsible manner By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A 3D printed Facebook logo can be seen on a keyboard surrounded by binary code. This illustration was taken September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Sheila Dang

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:) will invest $50 million to partner with organizations to build the so-called metaverse – a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment – in a responsible manner, it said on Monday.

Facebook, which is the most popular social network worldwide, has been investing heavily in virtual and augmented realities, including developing hardware such Oculus VR headsets, and also working on AR glasses, and wristband technology. This company’s negative impact on online safety has led to criticism.

Facebook announced that the new XR Programs and Research Fund will use the funds to invest globally in metaverse technology over the next two years.

According to Facebook, it intends to collaborate with researchers from four different areas (data privacy and safety), in order to offer tools for users to access help or provide them the opportunity to obtain assistance if something is troubling.

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Facebook explained that the company will research ways to make technologies more accessible and inclusive for all users. It also encourages competition in this nascent sector.

Facebook is currently under scrutiny for a variety of internet issues including the spreading of misinformation and negative effects of social media on teenagers. The fund was created to address these concerns.

An executive from Facebook will give evidence at the U.S. Senate hearing about Instagram’s impact on teens’ mental health.

Howard University is one of the first partners in Facebook’s new metaverse funds. It will be studying the history of diversity within the technology sector and what it means for the future.

Facebook announced that safety, ethics, and responsible design will be investigated by the University of Hong Kong and Seoul National University.

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