Facebook opens Meta Store to promote the meta verse

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Facebook said Monday it is opening its first physical retail space – its latest venture to transform itself from a social media platform into a hardware giant inventing the “meta-verse”.

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

The new physical space is the latest development in Facebook’s long-term plan to build immersive virtual worlds, which it calls the meta-verse. Facebook has spent billions on its Reality Labs, the division tasked with developing virtual and augmented reality hardware and software, to create the underlying technology. The company envisions users ultimately wanting to adopt avatars to work with colleagues in virtual boardrooms, attend digital events with friends, and shop in virtual stores accessed via virtual and augmented reality-powered services.

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

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Facebook changed its company name to Meta in October in an attempt to shift its brand from a social media-focused company involved in controversy to a company that was once again on the verge of reinventing the way people communicate.

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

Facebook’s dream of connecting the whole world is dead

But the promotion of the meta-verse, which was supposed to help the company move away from its past controversies, has already proved problematic in some ways. The Washington Post has reported that lax moderation is already emerging as a problem when it comes to protecting children.

Facebook also sees its investment in hardware as a chance to diversify its business model at a time when it faces several threats in the market, including new rules introduced by Apple aimed at limiting the social media giant’s ability to gather information about iPhone users to target them. with ad campaigns. If Facebook sells its own hardware devices, it does not have to rely on other companies to get its services into the hands of users.

Facebook is losing users for the first time in its history

Facebook is struggling to expand its user base at a time when newer social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok are growing in popularity, especially among younger people. Facebook reported in February that for the first time in its 18-year history, the platform lost daily users and fell by about half a million users in the last three months of 2021.

The Meta Store, which opens next month, is about 1,550 square feet and is located near the headquarters of its Reality Labs division in California.

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