Building the Metaverse Responsibly

By Andrew Bosworth, VP, Facebook Reality Labs and Nick Clegg, VP, Global Affairs
  • The metaverse won’t be built overnight by a single company. We’ll collaborate with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring this to life.
  • We’re announcing a $50 million investment in global research and program partners to ensure these products are developed responsibly.

Update on November 15, 2021 at 6:00AM PT:

Today we’re announcing wellness and safety partners we’ll work with to develop youth digital literacy programs for the metaverse:

  • Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, will focus on improving our understanding of how we can foster young people’s digital literacy and embed wellness into emerging metaverse technologies. 
  • Everfi will develop and implement Get Digital XR, a digital literacy program for students age 13 and older to promote metaverse safety and wellbeing.
  • Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former Executive Vice President of Education Research and Outreach at Sesame Workshop, will advise on creating developmentally appropriate digital literacy content for youth in the metaverse. 

Update on November 2, 2021 at 5:00AM PT:

Today, we’re announcing additional partners to collaborate with in building the metaverse responsibly. In Europe and the Middle East, we’ll work with the following nonprofit, government and cultural partners:

  • Colorintech (UK): Facilitating a metaverse competition for creators to inspire ideas around equity within the metaverse, and awards to support underrepresented creators.
  • Alte Nationalgalerie (Germany): Bridging the gap between visual arts and virtual arts through an inclusive XR experience highlighting the work of painter Johann Erdmann Hummel.
  • Peres Center for Peace and Innovation (Israel): Bringing together AR/VR startups and developers to unlock economic and social impact opportunities in the metaverse. This partnership will include a growth program for AR/VR startups in Israel, a social-economic research project and a developer community hub.

We’ll continue to update this post with additional partners.

Originally published on September 27, 2021 at 9:00AM PT:

We develop technology rooted in human connection that brings people together. As we focus on helping to build the next computing platform, our work across augmented and virtual reality and consumer hardware will deepen that human connection regardless of physical distance and without being tied to devices. 

What Is the Metaverse?

The “metaverse” is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more. It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful. 

The metaverse isn’t a single product one company can build alone. Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not. And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years. While that’s frustrating for those of us eager to dive right in, it gives us time to ask the difficult questions about how they should be built. 

How We’re Building Responsibly

We’ll work with experts in government, industry and academia to think through issues and opportunities in the metaverse. For instance, its success depends on building robust interoperability across services, so different companies’ experiences can work together. We also need to involve the human rights and civil rights communities from the start to ensure these technologies are built in a way that’s inclusive and empowering.

Here are a few key areas where we’ll work with others to anticipate the risks and get it right:

  • Economic opportunity: how we can give people more choice, encourage competition and maintain a thriving digital economy
  • Privacy: how we can minimize the amount of data that’s used, build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses and give people transparency and control over their data
  • Safety and integrity: how we can keep people safe online and give them tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
  • Equity and inclusion: how we can make sure these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible 

Introducing the XR Programs and Research Fund

There’s a long road ahead. But as a starting point, we’re announcing the XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research to help us in this effort. Through this fund, we’ll collaborate with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly. 

Here are a few of our initial partners: 

  • We’re working with the Organization of American States on job training and skills development for students, creators and small business owners.
  • Across Africa, we’re supporting Africa No Filter, Electric South and Imisi3D to support creators who have been pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling using immersive technology through “Amplifying African Voices.”
  • With Women In Immersive Tech, we are supporting women and underrepresented groups driving Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors.

As a part of this effort, we are also facilitating independent external research with institutions across the globe:

We will be sharing more partners and updates on our progress as the work continues.

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