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Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Facebook announced Monday it was forming a new Metaverse product group to advance its efforts to build a 3D social space using virtual and augmented reality tech.

The big picture: In an interview with journalist Casey Newton, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he sees the metaverse — a term widely used in both tech and science fiction to describe broadly shared, open virtual environments — as "the successor to the mobile internet." Zuckerberg also said it was "not something that any one company is going to build."

Details: Facebook's new Metaverse product group will report to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's vice president of virtual and augmented reality, who announced the new organization in a Facebook post.

What they're saying: Facebook's Oculus and Portal products have been first steps toward the new vision, Bosworth wrote, "but to achieve our full vision of the Metaverse, we also need to build the connective tissue between these spaces — so you can remove the limitations of physics and move between them with the same ease as moving from one room in your home to the next."

  • Leading the new team will be Instagram product head Vishal Shah and Facebook Gaming's Vivek Sharma and Jason Rubin.

Of note: Bosworth's announcement linked to a Facebook hiring page for AR/VR jobs that lists more than 700 openings.

Go deeper

Nov 2, 2021 - Podcasts

What Facebook means when it says “metaverse”

A slew of revelations about Facebook’s internal decision-making had many thinking the tech giant could face additional scrutiny and regulations. Instead, it appears in the wake of those stories, Facebook will plow ahead with its plans to play a bigger and more integral role in the lives of millions who use its services and platforms. 

Axios Re:Cap host Margaret Talev is joined by Axios technology managing editor Scott Rosenberg to discuss what Facebook’s rebrand tells us about its plans to expand. Plus, Margaret lays out what Axios will be watching for from tonight’s election results.

Nov 2, 2021 - Podcasts

Surprises from SCOTUS on abortion

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the Texas law that allows private citizens to sue to enforce the state’s six-week abortion ban. One of the cases was brought by Whole Women’s Health, an abortion provider in Texas; the other by the Department of Justice.

  • Plus, the county at the heart of the Virginia governor’s race.
  • And, what Zuckerberg’s virtual metaverse means for our real-life bodies.

Guests: Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and Axios' Cuneyt Dil and Scott Rosenberg

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 3, 2021 - Technology

The synthetic data that will help build AI and the metaverse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Synthetic data — the generation of artificial images to train AI and computer vision — will be key to building out a future metaverse.

Why it matters: AI has long been trained on images — including human faces — captured from the real world, but doing so can create serious privacy concerns.