by Brandon Butler
Facebook’s Gross VR Headset Requires a Real Facebook Account, and Moderates You in VR 9/17/2020

Sam Machkovech for Ars Technica reviews Facebook’s new VR headset, with the headline, ‘We do not recommend the $299 Oculus Quest 2 as your next VR system‘:

The long-rumored (and recently leaked) Oculus Quest 2 is here, in my home, on my face. I received it earlier this month, along with news that this would be Oculus’s cheapest “all-in-one” VR system yet: starting at $299 and shipping on October 13.

That’s one hell of a price for cutting-edge VR. But it comes at a cost.

Part of that comes from Facebook’s aggressive policy about making Facebook social media accounts (whose terms of service revolve around a “real name” policy) mandatory to use new Oculus VR headsets, including the Quest 2. Let me be blunt: that is a terrible idea. Attachment of a social media account and its massive Web of personally identifying data (as accumulated by everything from service log-ins to average Web-browsing cookies) to computing hardware (VR headsets, phones, computers, TVs, etc) is quite frankly an irresponsible move on Facebook’s part.

If that’s the beginning and the end of this review for you, I do not blame you.

That really was the end of the review for me, although I skimmed further down and read Machkovech’s attempts to use a fake “burner” Facebook account. He writes that if you sign in and buy software with a fake account and the account is flagged, unless you can prove it’s under your real name, you’ll lose all of your purchased software. You can’t even side-load apps onto this thing without a Facebook account. What a killjoy.

There’s even “invisible moderators” tracking everything that happens within the VR spaces; if someone issues a report against another person, all recordings from in that space, including yours, even if you weren’t involved in the report, are sent to Facebook and stored forever. Gross.

That price point is really appealing, but these privacy issues are a bummer, and I can’t support a company actively involved in the continued ruination of our society.