LONDON — Facebook plans to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years in a push to build a digital world known as the “metaverse.”
The social media giant said on Sunday it would hire high-skilled engineers in countries across the bloc. The company is focusing its recruitment drive on Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland.
“Europe is hugely important to Facebook,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, vice president of central products, said in a blog post Sunday night.
“From the thousands of employees in the EU, to the millions of businesses using our apps and tools every day, Europe is a big part of our success, as Facebook is in the success of European companies and the wider economy.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined his vision for a metaverse in July. The metaverse is a term used to describe digital worlds in which multiple people can interact within a 3D environment.
Facebook recently unveiled what it called its first step into the metaverse — a work collaboration app where people hold meetings in virtual reality.
A number of other companies, including Microsoft, Roblox and Epic Games are investing heavily in their own versions of the metaverse.
“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook’s most pressing priorities,” Clegg and Olivan said.
“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.”
Still, the news arrives at a turbulent time for Facebook.
The company was the subject of a series of investigative reports by the Wall Street Journal which unveiled internal company research about the negative impact of its Instagram app on teenagers and exemptions for high-profile individuals from its rules.
Earlier this month, Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who leaked the internal documents, testified at a U.S. congressional hearing. Haugen accused company leadership of putting “astronomical profits before people,” a claim Zuckerberg subsequently dismissed as “just not true.”
Haugen and another Facebook whistleblower, Sophie Zhang, are both due to testify before the U.K. Parliament this month. EU lawmakers are also calling on Haugen to appear at a parliamentary hearing in November.