Facebook is to create up to 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years as it seeks to build the next generation computing platform.
The company said the move would put Europe at the heart of building the metaverse, which is interconnected virtual experiences using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.
Among the highly skilled roles needed to help build the metaverse are engineering, product and associated business functions.
Some of the 10,000 jobs will be created at the company’s European headquarters in Dublin, but the company could not say how many due to its policy of offering remote work to eligible employees .
Facebook announced in June that it would open remote work to all levels of employees once the pandemic is over, with anyone whose role can be done remotely able to request it. It stressed, however, that some functions will have to remain at Facebook's EMEA headquarters in Dublin. Plans for its Ballsbridge campus in Dublin remain unchanged.
There will be some positions among the 10,000 planned roles that will be office-based, a spokeswoman for Facebook said.
"Facebook is at the start of a journey to help build the next computing platform. Facebook Ireland has played an important role in our company's growth and success to date," said Gareth Lambe, head of Facebook Ireland. "Today's announcement is a commitment to grow in Ireland and across Europe and in our long-term investment in European talent to help build the metaverse."
In a Facebook Newsroom post, the company's vice-president of global affairs Nick Clegg, and Javier Olivan, vice-president of Central Products, said Facebook would need to invest in product and tech talent, as well as growth across the business, to play its role in helping to develop the metaverse.
“This investment is a vote of confidence in the strength of the European tech industry and the potential of European tech talent,” the post said. “Europe is hugely important to Facebook. 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.”
The company also held out the prospect of further jobs in the region, stressing the need for highly specialised engineers to help build the new technology, and also lauded the EU’s potential role in shaping the new rules of the internet.
“As Facebook continues to grow in Europe, we hope to invest more in its talent and continue to innovate in Europe, for Europe and the world,” the post said.
The metaverse is considered the next development of online platforms, creating a greater sense of virtual presence to bring interactions online closer to in-person ones.
Facebook has already demoed its own collaborative virtual workspace known as Horizon Workrooms, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has previously made it clear he wants Facebook to be known primarily as a metaverse company.
However, the company has come under fire in recent weeks after whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged the company puts profit over people’s safety, including that Facebook failed to act on internal research showing that its Instagram app was damaging teenagers’ mental health.
Ms Haugen also claimed that Facebook’s attempts to limit harmful content were constantly hampered by a shortage of staff.
Facebook has strenuously denied the allegations.