Facebook is doubling down on the metaverse

At its annual conference on Thursday, Facebook is expected to unveil more details about its vision for the future of virtual and augmented reality.
The social media giant is betting big on what it calls the "metaverse," a virtual space where people can mingle with friends and family as if they were there. Facebook has been working on new versions of its virtual reality headset and recently partnered with Ray-Ban to create its first pair of smart glasses. "I think this work is critical to our mission because delivering a sense of presence -- like you're with another human being -- is the holy grail of online social experiences," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday ahead of the Facebook Connect conference.
On Monday, several news outlets published a series of stories from a trove of leaked Facebook documents that highlighted the challenges the company faces as it tries to police global content. Frances Haugen was a product manager at Facebook turned whistleblower. She collected the documents before leaving Facebook in May amid concerns that the company was putting profits before user safety. The Wall Street Journal used some of The Files earlier in a series called "The Facebook Files."
Mr. Zuckerberg addressed the leaked documents on Monday, saying the company was trying to balance free expression with efforts to reduce harmful content. More than 40,000 people work on safety and security at Facebook, and the social network expects to spend more than $5 billion on safety and security in 2021, he said. However, content moderation in virtual reality presents its challenges.
The company will broadcast the conference live on Facebook, which is scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m. / 1 p.m. Et. Facebook says it is working on a professional version of the Oculus Quest headset. With the release of its first smart glasses, the social network is likely to provide details on the next steps in developing augmented reality glasses. For Facebook, the conference could also be an opportunity to discuss its work with developers who are crucial to building its next apps in the Facebook universe. The company is already testing a VR work app and a VR social space called Horizon Worlds.
Meanwhile, there are also rumors that Facebook may rebrand itself with a new name during the conference. The company said Monday that it plans to release a report for Facebook Reality Labs, which works on augmented and virtual reality. Zuckerberg said the company plans to invest $10 billion in the metaverse this year.

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