Oculus, the Facebook-owned VR headset platform has announced some worrying news for anyone that values their privacy.
Up to now, you’ve been able to register a dedicated Oculus account, separate from any other Facebook-owned data.
All that is coming to an end, however, as Oculus begins the process of merging its accounts with Facebook identities. Yes, the same Facebook identities that have caused a tsunami of privacy breaches over the past decade.
Do I have to log into Oculus via Facebook already?
No. The switch starts later this year when new account sign-ups will be made to come from your Facebook profile. That includes any new headsets – buy a new model and you won’t be able to use your existing account, which sounds frankly ridiculous to us.
There are whispers of a replacement for the discontinued Oculus Go coming this Fall, so that will be the first ‘Facebook only’ device, if it materializes.
The next stage will be a forceful invitation to merge your Oculus account with your Facebook profile. If you say no, you’ll get a couple of years grace, but come 2023, it’ll be time to merge it or bin it. In the meantime, you’ll find that some apps and features will stop working over time.
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Given that the type of fayre we discuss on this site tends to command a need for extra privacy, we’re deeply uncomfortable but slightly resigned that this was always going to happen eventually.
Limited Facebook integration with Oculus has been around for a while, and it seems that information sharing between the two platforms has been taking place ever since the takeover in 2014 – well before the Cambridge Analytica debacle.
The good news, at least, is that Facebook’s personalized ads are not being merged, for now at least, so there’s no new third-party access to your most personal info, but with the last partition between these two worlds finally removed, there are plenty of other places for that data to leak from once it’s in the Facebook Megabrain. Megabrain is not an official term.
The worst part of all is that the conscientious objectors who have avoided a Facebook profile for so long may have to choose between their Oculus headset and their principles.
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