Oculus released an update yesterday that brought screen casting to its standalone VR headset, Oculus Go. In a measure to increase user safety on the platform, the company also launched a new security feature which now lets you to send video reports to their Safety Center when others have broken the company’s code of conduct.

The new function, which is now live on Oculus Go and Gear VR (coming to Rift next month), lets you record a two and half-minute video to report when other users have engaged in what the company considers abusive content or behavior. The new feature lets you send both text and now video reports from inside any VR app or game on the Oculus platform, which is then reviewed by the Oculus Community Operations team; to report abusive behavior, you have to physically engage the Video Report option from the Oculus menu at the time of the offense.

Oculus’ code of conduct bans the following user behaviors while in games or apps on the platform:

  • You may not use or promote sexually explicit, abusive or obscene content.
  • You may not use or promote language or content that would qualify as hateful or racially offensive. We don’t allow content that attacks people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, diseases or disability.
  • You may not harass, bully, threaten other users, or encourage other users to do so.
  • You may not encourage, celebrate or promote real-world violence.
  • You may not encourage or promote illegal activity.
  • You may not impersonate an Oculus employee, partner, representative, other real person or encourage other users to do so.

Oculus hasn’t clarified whether punitive actions are platform-wide, or only affect a user’s ability to join a specific game or app where the offense occurred.

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Taking a Virtual Step Back

As the company broadens its safety measures, it invariably drives the point home that the company’s VR platform is moving forward with many of same conduct policies seen on other social networks and video streaming services—seemingly par for the course as the VR arm of Facebook. Virtual reality cuts a bit closer to the bone than Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube though, as users casually transmit not only their voices and actions for extended periods of time, but also a startling amount of user data to Facebook in the process.

According to Oculus’ Privacy Policy, the swath of user data includes:

  • information about the people, content, and experiences you connect to and how you interact with them across Oculus Services.
  • depending on which Services you use, user-submitted information about your physical features and dimensions.
  • information about content you create using Oculus Services, such as your avatar, a picture you post, or an object you sculpt.
  • content and information that other people provide when they use the Services. This can include information about you, like when they send us an abuse report that refers to or contains video of you.
  • information about your environment, physical movements, and dimensions when you use an XR device. For example, when you set up the Oculus Guardian System to alert you when you approach a boundary, we receive information about the play area that you have defined
  • information through device settings you choose, such as your photos or audio content.

Side note: that data rests with Facebook and its partners unless you willfully delete it according to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). And should a user actually break a local law while using Oculus’ services, the company also has the right to access, preserve and share information with regulators, law enforcement or others regardless of legal jurisdiction. Oculus tempers this somewhat when it says the offense must also be “consistent with internationally recognized standards.”

It seems now the company is intent on more strictly enforcing good user behavior through its extralegal code of conduct; muting, hiding and blocking users on a case-by-case basis just isn’t enough for the company any more as it makes way for the glut of users on its path to what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes will be one billion users someday. These lines aren’t being drawn in sand though, but rather set in stone to create what the company ultimately hopes will be a positive and approachable environment moving forward.

What the future holds, we can’t say, but it’s these early moments when the seeds are planted that will redefine privacy, expectations of online safety, and ultimately freedom of speech. Following and examining these formative moments is exactly why we’re traveling on Road to VR.

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  • Luke

    yes! this is the right step to start with mass market oculus quest, very good decision Oculus!

    I remember the first times in echo arena (now the situation is far far better luckly because we they ban people who act like this) when people was molesting other people acting as sex scenes. Then you can’t even guess the age of the victimis and the trolls, so imagine how degenerate is letting people act like this without a conseguence (ban). Now think in a situation where oculus quest sells as the wii 1 from nintendo, and millions of childs and adults play togheter…. they had to precent this troll kingdom.

    • Sandy Wich

      It’s not hard it just requires that people actually care and put in the effort to deal with the inevitable problems in each community.

      It’s nice to see VR getting these standards put in so early. Nobody but the, “problem people”, find bannable behavior fun to play with. And I’m sure that’s amplified many times over in VR when people can actively get in your face.

      I haven’t been much of a fan of Oculus with the timed exclusives, slow PC-VR hardware development, but this is a step in the right direction.

      A big one.

      • Luke

        I remember one day with my family, after dinner I ask to my uncles to try vr. Everyone excited about that, all the family in the same room. My uncle put the headset on his head, he is in the lobby of Echo Arena, he is amazed by that place. Then someone start doing him a blowjob in VR I swear on my family that this is not a bullshit.

      • Pasi Ripari

        “Nobody but the, “problem people”, find bannable behavior fun to play with”

        World isn’t black and white. Why not have 24/7 government surveillance because hey if you’re not a criminal you’ve got nothing to hide?

        Why am I making this point? Because just like abusing other people, it’s possible to abuse a system to abuse people. Just a while ago I think we sentenced a guy to pay 800 quid because he taught his dog to do a nazi salute. NOBODY IN THE WORLD was really offended. But boy did a lot of people abuse the system for their petty pleasure.

  • care package

    Why does the Rift feel like the stepchild anymore.

    • Michael Slesinski

      $$$

  • Daban

    Haha. Good fucking luck Oculus. You can take VR out of the internet community, but you can’t take the internet community out of VR. Wankers.

    • Sandy Wich

      Of course you can. Many online communities successfully stomp out, “problem people”.

      All it requires is effort and a report system that easily identifies and punishes the issues in the community. And since PC-VR’s user base is still so small it’s much easier to start here than in super communities like Steam.

      • Michael Slesinski

        yea.. like they stop gold farmers…

  • Michael Slesinski

    its funny that you kids are big enough assholes for a “feature” like this to exist.

    • Sandy Wich

      Yea because when you were 11 you weren’t making fart jokes, talking about fucking your teacher or actively participating in ruining someones life at school, right?

      People at any given age and environment behave in many different ways. Some good, some not so good.

      These features need to exist because real life isn’t a SJW movie where all demographics participate equally.

      • Michael Slesinski

        um, no. i wasnt. at age 11 i was “the new kid” in my class of 17 kids who had a MALE teacher. i spent most of my time playing videogames, building things with legos, or flying kites on the beach.

        you REALLY think this has anything to do with fart jokes? you cant possibly be that stupid. im sure it has more to do with idiots literally SCREAMING racial slurs into their microphones. since parents go to jail for disciplining their children these days kids dont know how to act, as a result we have little shits who have never been slapped running their mouths on the internet.

        if i thought it was just about a bitch not liking being called a bitch or a fagot getting their feelings hurt when somebody calls them a fagot i would be against it, but it seems pretty clear to me its more about keeping the degenerate fucktards out of the vr gene-pool.

  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    Palmer Luckey at a Trump rally:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3yeuSbHXeo&app=desktop

    Don’t support Oculus.

    Google Oculus Trump.

    • VirtualRandomivity

      Yeah, and he lost his job *because* of that. How’s that a problem with Oculus atm?

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

        Oculus/Facebook didn’t fire Palmer because he went to a Trump rally and lied about who he was supporting. And they didn’t fire him when they found out about him financing an alt-right group with Milo Yiannopoulos.

        Don’t support Oculus. Google Oculus Trump.

        • Strawb77

          so what?

    • Pasi Ripari

      Lol out of all the reasons not to support Oculus you’d pick “one employee was at a trump rally” …really?

    • Chris7

      Yeah dont support oculus….. owned by facebook , who bundled like 113 million dollars for the Democrats in 2016 electio.

  • Yoshi Kato

    Nice to see one of the “leaders” in the VR field tackling the big problems. Significantly improve FOV – nope too difficult. Drastically improve resolution to eliminate the screen door effect – nope, we’ll follow the lead of other companies. Improve optics to allow variable depth of focus – nope, we’ll talk about it though. Pander to emotionally fragile NPC/SJW’s – yes, we can do that. Collect user data for social engineering experiments – heck ya, we can do that!

    I find it amazing that there are people that actually support Facebook and Oculus.

    • Pyro

      I’m thankful to have bought the majority of my games outside of Oculus Home. My next headset probably won’t be an Oculus.

  • Pyro

    Ugh. Way to pussify and censor a community that’s already so small. People that get easily insulted by this type of shit need to quit being little bitches

    • Sandy Wich

      Consequences are a part of growing up. If you can’t handle that at least you’ll always be able to play offline and yell at NPC’s >:D

      • Pyro

        While I agree to some extent, exposure to the world’s cruelties is also a part of growing up. You can choose to either be easily insulted and stressed by it or toughen up and desensitize yourself to it. Having big brother take care of the big bad meanie for you all the time is setting our future societies up for failure.

      • Sorry for my English, I’m not an native.
        I couldn’t agree more, but that’s the the thing, the real problem comes from snowflakes, who most of the time are ofended by the reality, statistics, and facts. That kind of ppl ale the most dangerous for such small comunity, becauce they can be ofended by anything and everyone.

    • Michael Slesinski

      on the 1 hand anyone under the age of 36 needs to harden the fuck up, on the other IF they were going to black-ball people from online gaming for activities like racism, cheating, or mercilessly harassing people (i mean the kinds of little cunts that will blow you up with IM’s constantly) i would be ok with it as long as they were literally banning your social security/citizen id# entirely from ALL online games.

  • FriendlyCard

    Try going into VR MP or social as a female. You WILL get sexually harassed and will give up a lot of MP/social VR pretty darn quick. Those abusers should definitely be banned.