Facebook will open the Meta Store to promote the metaverse

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Facebook announced on Monday that it was opening its first physical retail space – its latest bet to transform itself from a social media platform into a hardware giant inventing the “metaverse”.

In the store, customers will be able to test out Facebook’s growing line of smart hardware devices, including its Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Portal video calling device. The company will also sell some of the devices directly from the store.

The new physical space is the latest development in Facebook’s long-term plan to create immersive virtual worlds it calls the Metaverse. Facebook has spent billions on its Reality Labs, the division responsible for developing virtual and augmented reality hardware and software, to create the underlying technology. The company envisions that users will eventually want to adopt avatars to work with colleagues in virtual boardrooms, attend digital events with friends, and shop at virtual stores accessed through virtual and augmented reality services.

“The best way to understand virtual reality is to experience it,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “In the new Meta Store, anyone can demo popular apps on Quest 2 and project what you experience onto a large wall for your friends to see.”

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Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta in October in a bid to transform its brand from a controversial social media-focused company to one that was once again poised to reinvent the way people communicate. .

The name change follows a political crisis after a whistleblower handed over tons of internal documents to Congress and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, prompting lawmakers and advocates to ask the giant to technology to reform its business practices. Critics said the documents revealed the company made design and policy decisions that exacerbated mental health issues among some young users, amplified political polarization and exposed vulnerable regions to harmful content.

Facebook’s dream of connecting the whole world is dead

But the promotion of the metaverse, which is supposed to help the company move away from its past controversies, is already proving problematic in some respects. The Washington Post reported that lax moderation is already a problem when it comes to protecting children.

Facebook also sees its hardware investment as a chance to diversify its business model at a time when it faces several threats in the market, including new rules imposed by Apple that aim to limit the social media giant’s ability to collect information about iPhone users to target them. with advertising campaigns. If Facebook sells its own hardware devices, it won’t have to rely on other companies to put its services in the hands of users.

Facebook loses users for the first time in its history

Facebook is struggling to grow its user base at a time when new social media apps such as Snapchat and TikTok are gaining popularity, especially among young people. Facebook reported in February that for the first time in its 18-year history, the platform had lost daily users, dropping by around half a million users in the last three months of 2021.

The Meta Store, which will open next month, is approximately 1,550 square feet and is located near its Reality Labs division headquarters in California.

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