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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

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 14, 2021 - Technology

Facebook allows prominent users to break rules

Signage in front of the Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has long said that it applies the same rules to all posts, but internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal paint a picture of a company that allowed millions of politicians, celebrities and other high-profile users to break those rules without consequence.

Why it matters: It's hard to limit misinformation on a platform when you give a free pass to those with the most reach.

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.