European Union flag is brought into Ukraine's Parliament
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The European Union hosted a 387,000 euro (£330,000) party aimed at drawing in young people but hardly anyone showed up.
The EU Commission earlier this year spent more than quarter of a million on a “metaverse” in an attempt to raise awareness about its “Global Gateway” investment plan.
This is a “virtual-reality” space in which an individual can interact with a computer-generated environment, along with other users.
Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg is famously reported to have overestimated the popularity of such a platform.
Brussels staff described their own bloc’s venture into the field as “depressing and embarrassing”, according to Devex, which branded Global Gateway as “notoriously underunderstood”.
The EU also told the paper that the purpose of one promotional post relating to the project was to “intrigue that audience, primarily on TikTok and Instagram, and to encourage them to engage with the broader substance of the campaign, which will increase awareness of what the EU does on the world stage among an audience that is not typically exposed to such information”.
But the 24-hour launch party saw a tiny number of people engage in the metaverse, according to reports.
One of the attendees, journalist Vince Chadwick, wrote in a post on Twitter that “roughly five other humans… showed up”.
He described “bemused chats”, in which those present wondered where everybody else was.
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EU branding described the event as a “24 hour beach party”.
Technology academic Andres Guadamuz also asked in a post on Twitter: “Why is the EU buying into the [metaverse] hype anyway?”
During the event itself, Mr Chadwick questioned whether he had the date wrong.
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Another user noted that “the concert is the same DJ spinning the same music”.
It is reported that within a short while, people gave up on the event and left Mr Chadwick partying alone.
After seeing the Global Gateway launch, one EU diplomat told the Times: “Beijing must be wetting themselves with laughter.
“It would be funny if it was not a serious project, and if we had not paid for it all.”
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