Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage at an Oculus developers conference in 2016.
Glenn Chapmann/AFP via Getty Images
  • Mark Zuckerberg said this week that Facebook will transform into a metaverse company.
  • Metaverse is the next iteration of the internet and will expand on the physical and digital worlds.
  • It's Zuckerberg's own futuristic mission after his peers catapulted to the edge of space.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Richard Branson rocketed to the edge of space. So did Jeff Bezos just days later. Elon Musk has grand plans for interplanetary life, too.

But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one tech billionaire that's not following suit. Instead, he unveiled his own futuristic ambitions recently: positioning his company as the center of the so-called metaverse.

Think of it as what will come after the internet. It's a virtual universe that will straddle the physical and digital worlds, allowing people to live and interact in real-time in both of them.

Digiday gave a good example: you wouldn't have different social media profiles across various platforms. You would instead automatically be yourself when you log onto Twitter, Instagram, and other online spaces.

The metaverse concept has been somewhat niche, presiding largely in the gaming world, until Zuckerberg pushed it into the limelight this week in an interview with The Verge.

He said Facebook would evolve from a social media company into a "metaverse company." And Facebook's Andrew Bosworth said on Monday that the company is even building out a designated executive team to oversee progress towards the metaverse vision. It'll exist within Facebook's virtual reality branch.

Facebook's VR and AR technology can currently "teleport you into a room with another person, regardless of physical distance, or to new virtual worlds and experiences," Bosworth said in the Facebook post. "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."

Zuckerberg said he's banking on the transition to occur over the course of the next five years or so.

So he may not achieve astronaut status, but then again, neither did Bezos technically. He may only qualify for "honorary" astronaut wings, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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