Meta is finally pulling back from one of its most controversial moves affecting its VR users, which required all new Quest owners to sign up with a valid Facebook account in addition to forcing legacy Oculus account users to link to Facebook by 2023.

The move away from Facebook logins, which was first announced late last year, is said to come into effect sometime in August. It will introduce a new Meta account structure that the company says gives people “more flexibility and control in VR,” as it removes the Facebook account requirement and allows users to unmerge from the social platform entirely if they so choose.

This includes a number of changes. Here’s a quick breakdown of the major features as revealed by Meta:

  • Everyone needs a Meta account to login to their device
  • Everyone needs a Meta Horizon social profile, used for social stuff
  • You can unlink your Facebook account entirely 
  • New Meta accounts let you add Facebook and/or Instagram to the same Accounts Center for “connected experiences”
  • “Friends” will become “Followers” à la Instagram

Facebook, Begone!

Meta is stressing that the new monolithic Meta account login is “not a social profile,” but rather a way to login to let you view and manage your purchased apps. All of those social functions though will be fulfilled by an obligatory Meta Horizon profile, which Meta says can be used in VR and “other surfaces where you use your Meta Horizon profile, like the web.”

While linking Facebook and Instagram profiles is possible, neither are a requirement. If you do, Meta says you can play “connected experiences” like finding your Instagram followers to play games with in VR, or chatting with Facebook friends on Messenger.

SEE ALSO
Meta Planning Web-based Version of ‘Horizon Worlds’ With Lower Creator Fees Than Its VR Platform

Just like Facebook profiles, Horizon profiles can be set to certain levels of exposure to other users on the platform. Users will be able to set their social profile to ‘Open to Everyone’, ‘Friends and Family’, and ‘Solo’. You can also set it to private (default for teens aged 13-17), which requires you to approve follower requests. In private mode, only your followers can see who you follow and who follows you. Everyone else will still be able to see your profile picture, avatar, username, display name, follower count, and the number of people you follow.

Horizon Worlds | Image courtesy Meta

For the account, Meta needs your name, email address, phone number, payment information, and date of birth—all of which is non public. The company is also allowing for users to create multiple Meta accounts if they want. Kids under 13 are still not officially allowed on the platform.

All new users will be required to create a Meta account and Horizon profile, but also legacy users who previously merged Oculus accounts with Facebook. Even Oculus account holders who haven’t merged will need both the Meta account and Horizon profile before the previous January 1st, 2023 cut-off date, lest you risk turning your headset into a battery-powered paperweight.

SEE ALSO
Meta Plans to Take Nearly 50% of Creator's Earnings in 'Horizon Worlds'

All of it’s obligatory—as in you’ll need to create a Meta account to play your games when Meta pulls the trigger next month—however at least it’s no longer tied to Facebook, which allowed the company to suspend the ability for users to play their own VR games based on behavior outside of VR. It also seems the company is conceptually separating the Meta account login and Meta Horizon profile for now to make the pill go down easier that it’s not just replacing the Facebook login in name only.

Still, if you want to engage in VR activities on a Meta device, it’s pretty clear from hereon out that you’ll have to do so as a willing participant of what could be its own separate but interoperable social network.

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  • “The company is also allowing for users to create multiple Meta accounts if they want.”

    This is the important part for me. There are any official source where they say this explicity?

    • Sven Viking

      I can’t post the link without getting stuck in a moderation queue but if you go to the Oculus Blog it’s in the “INTRODUCING META ACCOUNTS: A NEW LOGIN FOR VR” post.

    • Mateusz Pawluczuk

      Unfortunately:
      “You can create one Meta Horizon profile per Meta account. ”

      You can have many Meta accounts and joggle them around but it’s not exactly different from how having multiple Facebook accounts used to work. At the end you can only have one account at a time.

  • A Facebook friend shared a pic of white people kneeling on each others necks calling it the “George Floyd Challenge” (back during the time of the protests) and I commented saying “effing white people” (I’m white) and got my FB account dinged for “Hate Speech”. This happened again on a thread of women detailing abusive relationships, when I replied “I’m so sorry, men are a-holes” to someone (I’m a man). I appealed both decisions and lost.

    I do VR development, but after my FB moderation experiences, buying their hardware/software if it’s tied to my FB account is a no go.

    • ApocalypseShadow

      I logged in just to say I appreciate both your instances that you stood up for something while the Facebook algorithm knocked you down. It’s the difference between a cold AI routine and a real person that would see what you did and not ding your account.

      I don’t know you to say what you’re like. But your comment definitely says enough. Handshake. Head nod.

      • Thanks, I really appreciate that. I’m not even one of these “Don’t use FB!” types – I have an account and use it a lot. I just want to make sure it’s known, in addition to all the other privacy issues, their judgement/moderation also has HUGE issues like this, and they can’t be trusted to become the sole gatekeeper capable of kicking each of us out of our virtual social lives.

        • sfmike

          They truly can’t be trusted. I have had the same experiences and since you can never get a human to look at your claim after the lousy AI has dinged you it just shows how lazy and uncaring they are about customer service.

    • wowgivemeabreak

      I’m sure that if you saw black people doing something you didn’t agree with that you’d say “effing black people”, correct? Oh wait, you wouldn’t, because you wouldn’t want to be deemed a “racist”

      Same if you saw something about women abusing men and said “I’m sorry, women are a-holes”

      Let me guess…you are one of those people that yammers on about “equality” but you don’t actually view people in an equal way because you fear not appearing woke and as a white knight to all your other wokester friends. You’ll only be critical of white people and (hetero) men. You will probably comment on a news story of a white person shooting someone but not make a peep about the daily black on black shootings and crime that happens in places like Chicago.

      As for saint Floyd, the medical examiner’s report stated he died from a drug induced heart attack and the police body cam video and transcript (which I both watched and read …I am sure you and all the others who believed the BS narrative never did either) showed he was talking about how he “couldn’t breathe” long before he was even on the ground. He was saying that while walking to the cop car and then resisted being put in the bask of the car and told them he needed to be let out because he couldn’t breathe. They asked him if being put on the ground would be fine and he said yes and they called an ambulance because they knew something was wrong with him. He didn’t die because he had a knee on his shoulder and again, the autopsy and report proved this, along with the video to back it up.

      That cop wouldn’t have been found guilty had this not been sensationalized from the media back when it happened. They basically had to find him guilty or all the people ignorant of what actually happened and what killed the guy would have rioted (that’s what they did. Protesting does not involve burning down businesses) even more.

      I can only gather CNN and the rest of the media love people like you. You’ve probably never once ever used your brain to ever question if what you get told is actually true. I have given you facts above that you yourself could go research and confirm yet I am 99.999999% sure you won’t believe what I told you and will still believe the narrative. You’ll probably just conclude I must be a “racist” because I actually stated inconvenient facts.

      I will say your comment being dinged as “hate speech” was BS but funny enough, it only got that because of saint Floyd’s name being part of that “challenge.” Had you simply said “effing white people” to anything else, they wouldn’t have cared because big tech doesn’t give a rip if you trash white people….unless they are white people that claim to be “trans”…then they will suddenly care.

    • James Cobalt

      The moderation teams are largely outsourced to the poorest parts of Eastern Europe and Africa where far right sentiments are strong and English is weak. I was dinged for abuse by the mod team for saying Happy Pride on a friend’s business page that posted a photo of a pride flag on their business. Appealing it changed nothing. The mod teams are highly compromised.

    • Ad

      Holy shit, facebook is toxic.

  • Kyle Morrison

    You need a steam account to pay steam games. How would they handle purchases without any kind of account? Before this we had oculus accounts. We are basically reverting back to that.

    • mappo

      I don’t recall giving them my phone number and date of birth to set up my Oculus account though. An email and a (made up) name and I was on my way.

      • Kyle Morrison

        I imagine phone number is for account access issues and DOB is for game purchases and wishful thinking but it would be great if DOB would be used for keeping children out of games.

        • Jistuce

          Phone number is probably to prevent trivial ban evasion.

          Date of birth is almost certainly to avoid significant legal restrictions placed upon online services that serve children.

    • Sven Viking

      Personally I was never against the concept of accounts, just the disadvantages associated with Facebook social media accounts (like literal billions of AI bans per year with associated false positives, and people flagged for ID verification being locked out of their hardware for weeks until a rare human Facebook employee gets around to perusing their multiple ID documents), and individual identities being arbitrarily and potentially permanently blocked off from an entire category of VR hardware and software. From the Oculus blog post it sounds like this might actually resolve that, possibly.

      • Sven Viking

        P.S. Some people are saying the Meta account Terms of Service allow them to do all of the same things they used to do with Facebook accounts, though. That sounds depressingly plausible.

    • Cl

      Except now you need 2 accounts.

      • Kyle Morrison

        How do you need two accounts?

        • Caven

          It says you have to have a Meta Horizon social profile, which is separate from the Meta account itself. I’d rather not be forced into creating a social profile I have no intention of using, especially given Facebook/Meta’s historically irresponsible use of data.

          At least the Meta Horizon social profile is decoupled from the Meta account, but given their past efforts to force people to use Facebook accounts for VR, who’s to say they won’t force people to start using the Meta Horizon social profile down the road? After all, an Oculus account used to be good enough–until they decided it wasn’t.

          • Kyle Morrison

            We can complain about hypotheticals all day. I am glad my work VR headsets no longer have to be coupled with my facebook.

          • James Cobalt

            The social profile isn’t a separate account. It’s attached to your Meta account and will be used in other services you link to your Meta account, like Facebook.

    • Ad

      This is a meta account with a required social meta account as well. Also the company is called Meta so this is not a hardware or store account, and there is no device that requires a steam account to function.

      • Kyle Morrison

        Oh ya so you are telling me people buy Valve Index’s and just stare at the create an account screen and don’t make a steam account to buy games. How about we come back down to reality.

  • Sorry, it was being shared in the “this is disgusting” sense.

  • Xodroc

    Pure Placebo move. Literally the same company.

    • philingreat

      You don’t need a FB account anymore. That’s what everyone asked for! Of course you still need an account, it’s the same on Steam, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo…

      • Goat King

        False Equivalence. Steam, etc are not Zuck companies and also wrong. You do not have to login to Playstation or Xbox to play games, not if you have a disc. You also have to sign up for Horizons, their VR social platform; which is their replacement for FB. There was nothing wrong with the old Oculus account; which is what people originally signed up for and expected.

        I don’t even have to login to Microsoft to use Windows. You don’t login to Steam to use your PC, etc.

        • NL_VR

          They owned the old oculus account also.
          If you never used Oculus you can speak but if you used Oculus after 2014 they already got information:P

        • James Cobalt

          So if your Xbox didn’t have a blu-ray drive – it was purely digital downloads – you’re saying you would need an account to buy and play your purchased games? So… you agree it makes sense that Meta requires an account for the Quest?

          Funny you mention Microsoft Windows. Microsoft also requires you to have an account and activate and to use Windows. At least as of Windows 10. An account is required to activate it, and you must have at least one Microsoft account associated with it. As on 2019 only non-admin accounts can be local.

          • Anonmon

            Factually false. You can set up W10 without a Microsoft account just fine. Literally how my install is set up right now.

            Microsoft really pushes you to sign up for a account, and you have to go out of your way to tell them to back off with that garbage, but you can do it with minimal hassle otherwise.
            W11 on the other hand, while you still can, it’s even more of a PITA to do as they’re proper pushing for it, to the point you have to close down services and do console commands and all sorts of other things to stop them forcing themselves onto you.

        • philingreat

          I never said Steam is a Zuck company, I only said that you also need an account to play games. You need to login to steam to play steam games and you definitely need an account to be able to play on Playstation. It’s the first thing you need to do to be able to start playing on PlayStation 5. And for Horizon, you don’t need to sign up for it, only if you want to use it.

  • xyzs

    At least, we can skip the stupid Facebook friends suggestions.
    Regarding the privacy… lol they have all they need, don’t be fooled.

    • Ad

      “Regarding the privacy… lol they have all they need,”

      Everyone who said “I have nothing to hide” should really stop talking now that data harvesters are selling info on whether people got abortions to the cops.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I think it makes sense you’ll need an account as it is tied to the store.

  • AS

    I have a pico neo 3 pro for work, I can install apps direct from a web page without even entering my name.

    This should be possible on ALL devices.

    • Anonymous

      And have more info stolen by the Chinese government. Nice.

      • AS

        I just literally said there is no personal data on the device.

        Typical response from someone who doesn’t know how to read a firewall log.

      • Anon-2

        vs having your info bundled up and sold by Meta/facebook to anyone who has the cash?

  • Same same, but different, but still the same

    • philingreat

      It’s not the same. Your Meta account is not linked to your FB account

      • Arno van Wingerde

        … or so Mark Zuckerberg says, so it must be true. What happens INSIDE META with all that information is anybody’s guess!

  • TechnoHunter

    Finally! Don’t have to share my VR life on FB! Oculus Accounts back LETS GO!

    • NL_VR

      What are you talking about? You never have to share your “VR Life” on FB.

      • TechnoHunter

        Being sarcastic my guy! :D

  • wowgivemeabreak

    What BS. So I had to swap over to their farcebook account back when they changed that and now I have to swap over again and give even MORE personal info.

    How could anyone find this better? Because you don’t need a farcebook account? Big deal! It’s the same company and again, they want even MORE info now!

    • Guest

      They need your name, email address, phone number, payment information, and date of birth for the next election to sell to the highest bidder!

      • NL_VR

        Funny i have litterly asked to buy information from Meta about users, they ignore me… my Company is pretty big

        • James Cobalt

          I don’t know why this “sell your info” myth won’t die. Considering how much information and time people put into Facebook, you’d think they’d have at least a basic understanding of the business model or privacy standards.

          • Guest

            They used it to package ads for Trump and Gerrymander-up voting blocks. They did not have to give him info on the individuals.

      • James Cobalt

        If you’re referring to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook didn’t sell that information. That data was available to anyone for free who put in the work to trick users into sharing it. Facebook doesn’t sell identifiable information; it’s used to power targeted advertising.

    • philingreat

      Everyone asked that they remove the requirement of having a FB account. That’s what they did.

    • Elite-Force Cinema

      And what do you want us to do about it? Force Facebook to go bankrupt and go under bankruptcy until the point you want to force them to go out of business for good instead of doing better at treating their customers with respect or what?

  • Cl

    And a meta horizon social account. So they take away facebook login and add 2 more lol.

  • philingreat

    this is what everyone was asking for. Now, that Meta delivers, you are still not happy?

    • ShaneMcGrath

      We didn’t ask for them to basically just rename Facebook social account to a Meta horizon social account, It’s still the same BS forcing you to need a social account.
      What people asked for was to be able to use their VR device without needing any social account.
      I should be able to switch on my VR device and just use it to play games or watch movies.
      Have you even read their new terms of service?
      No better than the previous ones except now they just admit to using your data for certain things.

      • philingreat

        They don’t rename the Facebook social account to Meta horizon social account, not at all. You can create a Meta horizon account, you can play games, you can delete your facebook account. Facebook accounts will not be changed into Meta horizon accounts, it’s a new account that is not connected to your facebook account. I agree, I would also like to be able to switch on my VR device without the need of an account. But you need an account for Steam, Playstation, Nintendo…

  • Username LastName

    One thing I dislike about RoadToVR is that they do not link to the original blog post. Why? The breakdown description roadtovr posted differs significantly from what was on the oculus blog pos:

  • Ad

    It’s concerning that anyone is acting like this is a fix.

  • Mike Magnum

    I know its a old system. But how am i suppost to use a Meta Account with the Oculus go.