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Meta removes Facebook account mandate from Quest VR—but is that enough?

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Let's just see who you <em>really</em> are under that mask of a positive-sounding Facebook policy reversal...

Enlarge / Let's just see who you really are under that mask of a positive-sounding Facebook policy reversal... (credit: Hanna Barbera / Aurich Lawson)

Credit where credit is due: The Meta Quest virtual reality platform, previously known as Oculus Quest, will soon remove its obnoxious Facebook account mandate. As announced on Thursday, starting in August, both new and existing Quest headset users will be able to use the system's default operating system and digital download store without tying their "real-name" social media accounts to the service.

This is a good course correction of a bad decision. In 2020, I wrote at length about the dangers of VR's "Facebookening," which arose when the Quest VR platform dumped its existing Oculus account system in favor of required Facebook accounts. This decision forced a cross-pollination between VR headsets and years of social media posts and messages, including the cookies and metadata from connected sites and services. It demanded a level of "real name" compliance that we've never seen from other major Western computing devices and operating systems.

Worse, the move tacitly threatened anyone wanting to sidestep the rules by creating a dummy Facebook account. Facebook famously disallows aliases and fake names, and while it doesn't check for ID at account creation, it can lock accounts at any time if it detects "suspicious" activity. To unlock an account, the company will usually request some form of "official" photo identification. If someone converted their Oculus account to a name like "Guy Incognito" and got stuck in a lockdown state, Facebook was well within its rights (granted by its terms of service) to keep the account and all its associated software purchases locked away.

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Ars TechnicaContinue reading/original-link]

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