Facebook will reportedly invest $50 million to developed the metaverse more responsibly. Facebook said that the new XR Programs and Research Fund will invest the money globally over two years to ensure metaverse technologies are built in a way that’s inclusive and empowering.
Facebook calls the metaverse the next computing platform and says that it will be working with policymakers, researchers, and industry partners while building it.
The company said it’s goal is to work with researchers across four areas including data privacy and safety, in order to provide tools or give users the ability to get help if they see something in the metaverse that makes them uncomfortable.
Right now, Facebook’s metaverse 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’ll be partnering with organizations like Women in Immersive Tech, Africa No Filter, Electric South, and the Organization of American States. It also says it’ll facilitate independent external research with organizations like the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore.
Facebook VP Nick Clegg also spoke about the program, calling it a start to research into the metaverse, and saying that he hoped it would help provide answers when regulators start asking questions about the new tech.
The new fund comes as Facebook faces scrutiny in a wide range of internet issues, such as the spread of disinformation and social media’s negative impact on teens.
On Monday, The company it announced that it was pausing work on a pre-teen-focused Instagram after the company strongly pushed back against a report that claimed the company knew Instagram was bad for teenage girls. The company has also said it’s becoming more transparent about what types of posts its algorithms try to hide and issued denials about another report that said the company tried to promote itself using the News Feed.