The latest release of the Oculus Rift software runtime offers official Facebook integration. However, there might be some privacy issues involved.
Oculus Now Offers Official Facebook Integration
This week the latest Oculus Rift software runtime has been updated to version 1.8 which now adds official Facebook integration. The update has started to be offered to users of the device in waves.
When the update has been applied the users are shown a message that says “Oculus is better with Facebook friends” after which they are prompted to login using their Facebook profile.
The service will continue to operate as it is optional. Many gaming services such as Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network use Facebook specific features, so this move does not come as a surprise.
The Oculus integration, however, is much more aggressive. When the Facebook profile information is added to the software, the username of the owner is changed to the real name (synced from Facebook). The service also adds all friends from Facebook to the Oculus’s friends list. This is an automated feature that cannot be controlled at the current moment.
Also, Oculus does not allow the users to filter their virtual reality friends list. This is a serious privacy issue as the Oculus owner is not able to efficiently control the list. All friends can view what games the user plays and at what times. The help page of Oculus reads that when the Facebook profile is added, the friend’s list is continuously updated. A possible approach is to use two accounts – a Facebook one and a private profile.
Still, Facebook has informed the Oculus users of the changes in the displayed notification. This option has caused a lot of concerns among privacy rights activists. Oculus have stated that they will continue to operate this feature as a strictly optional one and do not plan to make it a requirement.