Meta is addressing one of the chief complaints that Oculus VR headset owners have had regarding their devices. A press release shared by the parent company of Facebook can confirm that Facebook accounts are no longer required to use the company’s VR products, as Mark Zuckerberg has introduced Meta accounts, “a new way for people to log into their VR headsets” that doesn’t require an account with the world’s leading but controversial social media platform. Oculus VR products were rebranded to Meta (e.g., Meta Quest 2) earlier this year.
Users who are new to Meta VR devices or have previously merged their Oculus account with their Facebook account will be prompted to create a Meta account and Meta Horizon profile in August 2022, while those who have been logging into their VR devices with an Oculus account can continue to do so until January 1, 2023, before switching over. A Meta Horizon profile is a “social profile in VR and other surfaces, like from a web browser,” the company explains, one that allows users to set a custom avatar (e.g., “gamer or as your buttoned-up 9-to-5 persona”), profile username, and profile name that’s displayed to others while in VR.
Meta has clarified that its new account option is not a social media profile. It exists solely to allow users to log into their VR devices and manage their purchases in one place, although Meta is working on extended its functionality so it can be used to log into other Meta devices. Meta has also integrated a series of privacy controls, including options to set a profile to private.
We want to let you control who you interact with in VR and build your own community. As part of this update, you’ll now find a menu with three privacy options to help guide you through which privacy settings are the best fit for you: Open to Everyone, Friends and Family, and Solo. After you make your selection, you’ll have the opportunity to review and confirm your individual privacy settings are set the way you want them. You can change these settings at any time.
As part of these privacy settings, you have the option to set your Meta Horizon profile to private, which means you’ll be asked to review and approve follower requests. If you choose this option, only your followers can see who you follow and who follows you. Keep in mind that people who don’t follow you will still be able to view your profile picture, avatar, username, display name, follower count and the number of people you follow. People can also still search for your name or username and send you follow requests.