Meta Wanted to Sell VR to Student Debt Relief Recipients: Report

  • Meta-workers considered promoting VR headsets to recipients of federal student debt relief.
  • Three employees said the ad proposal could increase sales by 20%, the New York Times reported.
  • Meta, whose shares are down more than 60% so far this year, didn’t seem to capitalize on the idea.

Meta employees suggested promoting the company’s virtual reality headsets to student loan recipients because Facebook’s parent company was struggling to generate interest in its Metaverse, the New York Times reported.

“This is an opportunity for Meta Quest’s growth as there is evidence that previous federal stimulus has spurred growth,” reads the proposal, which was led by three workers, according to the Times.

Staffers suggested that marketing the headsets to people receiving Biden administration student debt relief could increase sales by 20%, the publication said, citing former and current employees who preferred to remain anonymous remain as they were not authorized to speak about internal problems.

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The Times reported that Meta didn’t appear to have implemented the idea. A spokesman for Meta did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on the proposal.

But a spokesman told the Times of the company’s move to the broader metaverse: “It’s easy to be a cynic about new and innovative technology. In fact, they’re a lot harder to build — but we’re doing it because we believe the metaverse is the future of computing.”

After President Joe Biden announced that federal student loan recipients could receive $10,000-$20,000 in debt relief in August, the GOP argued the effort could provide a significant boost to consumer spending and inflation. However, Goldman Sachs economists Joseph Briggs and Alec Phillips said at the time that the debt relief would have little impact on increasing overall borrower spending.

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Meta’s newest VR headset, Quest 2, is one of the most popular headsets available. Pricing for the device starts at $399, according to the company’s website. Facebook’s parent company is expected to unveil a new VR headset on Tuesday. Last month an online user posted a video of what appeared to be the new Quest Pro headset.

Despite the interest in the headsets, the company has faced headwinds over Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to evolve into a Metaverse-focused company. Meta’s stock price has fallen about 60% since it changed the company’s name to Meta and announced its plans to focus on virtual reality projects last October. In August, people on social media mocked the Facebook founder after he posted a picture of his Metaverse avatar and indie singer Grimes calling Zuckerberg “underqualified” to launch the Metaverse.

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What’s more, even some meta-collaborators seem disillusioned with Zuckerberg’s plans. The Times reported that some employees had begun calling Metaversum projects “making Mark happy.” Last week, The Verge reported that internal company memos show that not even the employees are interested in using Meta’s Metaverse app, Horizon Worlds.

Meanwhile, Insider’s Kali Hays previously reported that Meta is conducting “silent layoffs” that could affect up to 15% of the company’s workforce.

Read the full story on the New York Times website.

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