The People With Power at Facebook ‹› Hardware & Commerce Ambitions Expand

The seriousness of its ambitions is reflected in its headcount. Nearly 10,000 people are working in its group developing augmented & virtual reality devices, or nearly one-fifth of Facebook’s total global workforce.

By LUCKY 33

The People With Power at Facebook ‹› Hardware & Commerce Ambitions Expand

Facebook in recent years has laid out an aggressive strategy of building its own consumer hardware to lessen its dependence on Apple & Google, makers of the two dominant mobile operating systems. Unlike on the hardware side, where their primary competition is the world’s largest company, in the metaverse, Facebook primarily faces competition from much smaller gaming companies like Roblox & Epic.

Facebook realizes that there are a lot of scary dystopian elements to this, and in combination with all that lost trust, this can derail the whole thing. They have recently allocated $50 million to research ways in which to alleviate these issues. Facebook is working with experts in government, industry & academia to think through issues and opportunities in the metaverse.

Here are a few key areas where we’ll work with others to anticipate the risks and get it right:

Economic opportunity: how we can give people more choice, encourage competition and maintain a thriving digital economy

Privacy: how we can minimize the amount of data that’s used, build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses & give people transparency and control over their data

Safety and integrity: how we can keep people safe online & give them tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with

Equity & inclusion: how we can make sure these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible

—Andrew Bosworth, VP, Facebook Reality Labs and Nick Clegg, VP, Global Affairs, September 27, 2021

Meanwhile, one of Facebook’s other large employee groups, engineering, recently promoted David Mortenson as its new leader. He replaces Jay Parikh, who left last month after spending over a decade building the social network’s data centers & technology infrastructure. In another previously unreported move, Facebook last summer hired a former YouTube & Spotify executive, Shiva Rajaraman, to lead its budding commerce efforts—a key growth area for the company as it seeks to become more of a shopping destination. These changes, along with updates to the leadership of Facebook’s apps & the formation of its new payments group.

Facebook Consumer Hardware David Mortenson
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