This story is partCNET’s exploration of the next stage in the evolution of the Internet.
What is happening
In August, people who use Meta’s VR devices will no longer need their Facebook account to log in. The company is also updating its policies and rolling out more privacy controls in VR.
why is it important
The changes reflect how the social network is doubling down on its metaverse ambitions. Requiring a Facebook login to use its VR devices was also a move that upset users.
Facebook parent company Meta said on Thursday it will no longer require people to log into their Facebook accounts to use its virtual reality headsets.
The social media giant started requiring a Facebook login for its VR platform in 2020, upsettingor just didn’t want to use the social network. At the time, the company said the move would make it easier for people to find and socialize with friends in virtual reality.
In August, people will be able to create Meta accounts to log into their Quest VR headsets and choose whether they want to use their Facebook and Instagram accounts in VR. Once they have created a Meta account, they will be prompted to create a social profile in VR called Meta Horizon profile.
“This will give everyone more choice over how you present yourself in the metaverse,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.
The new account structure is just one of the changes Meta is making in August to reflect its focus on the metaverse, the virtual spaces where, in the company’s vision, people work, play and socialize. Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta last year. The rebranding also affected Oculus, the maker of VR headsets that Facebook bought in 2014 for more than $2 billion. Meta has renamed the Oculus Quest 2 headset to the Meta Quest 2 headset.
Meta has different timelines for when VR users will need to create a Meta account, and they depend on how people are currently logging into their VR devices. If you are a new VR device user or have already merged your Oculus account with your Facebook account, you will be prompted in August to create a Meta account and a Meta Horizon profile. People who have previously merged their Oculus accounts with their Facebook accounts will also be able to unlink them.
Although in 2020 the social network started requiring a Facebook login to use its VR devices, the company also gave existing users the option to use their Oculus account until January 1, 2023. After this deadline, these users will need to create a Meta account and Meta Horizon profile to continue using the device.
Meta will ask for your name, email address, phone number, payment information, and date of birth to verify your age when you create this new type of account. Meta indicates that this information will be private and users will be able to create multiple Meta accounts.
In most countries, people must be at least 13 years old to create a Meta account. In Spain and South Korea, the age required to create a Meta account is at least 14 years old.
Meta said in August that “friends” in VR will now become “followers,” a structure used by Instagram, owned by Meta.
As part of these updates, Meta is also rolling out more privacy controls in VR. Users will be able to set their privacy settings to Open to Everyone, Friends and Family, and Solo. They will also be able to set their Meta Horizon profiles to private so they can review and approve whoever they want as subscribers. Meta Horizon profiles for teens ages 13-17 will be set to private by default.