Facebook has announced a $50 million fund it says will help the Metaverse grow more responsibly. It is officially called the XR Programs and Research Fund, and the company says it will be invested in “programs and external research” over the course of two years. Facebook has previously funded academic research into the social impact of AR wearables and solicited VR hardware proposals. Facebook’s announcement blog calls Metaverse “the next computing platform” and says the company will work with policymakers, researchers and industry partners as they build it.
The announcement also gives us Facebook’s definition of the sometimes ambiguous term “metaverse.” The company describes it as a “virtual space where you can create and explore with other people,” spread across a variety of products and services that aren’t you physically. Facebook says the fund aims to make sure it does its share of the metaverse in terms of compatibility with other services, as well as inclusivity, privacy, security and “economic opportunity.” Right now, Facebook’s biggest Metaverse program is a platform called Horizon, which exists as a beta Oculus app that lets people have VR meetings.
The company says it will partner with organizations such as Women in Immersive Tech, Africa No Filter, Electric South and the Organization of American States. It also says it will facilitate “independent external research” with organizations such as the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore, although it did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the research would remain independent if Facebook is involved.
Facebook wants people to think it’s a responsible platform owner
Facebook has been trying to present itself as a responsible platform owner lately. On Monday, he announced he was stopping work on a pre-teen-focused Instagram after the company strongly pushed back against a report that claimed the company knew Instagram was for teen girls. was bad. . The company has also said it is becoming more transparent about what types of posts its algorithms try to hide and issued a rebuttal about another report that said the company itself was using News Feed. Was. Despite its efforts to promote, it is still mired in controversy: it has had to apologize to researchers after providing incorrect data, and its board of oversight has asked for more details about how the platform is based on its well-known users. separates. operated properly.
While Facebook describes this fund as metaverse-focused, it appears to have been designated as broad-focused. The company is already doing a lot of research into the AR/VR space, and while $50 million is a lot of money, it’s a very small fraction of Facebook’s earnings in one quarter (not to mention funding that much in two years). how much will be invested). This amount does not match the importance of Facebook on AR/VR and the future impact of the Metaverse.
Facebook says it will continue to share updates on the program’s progress, as well as adding future partners.