By B.N. Frank
Facebook is one of many promoting and profiting from Virtual Reality (VR) technology despite known health risks to users, especially children. Despite criticism from business partners and users (see 1, 2), the company will continue to put ads in its programs. Of course, you can avoid the ads by not using Oculus or taking steps to hide them.
Facebook Just Gave 1 Million Oculus Users A Reason To Quit
It’s happened again. Facebook has broken a promise made by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey when he sold the company to the social network in 2014 that the VR headset would not target you with ads.
In a blog last month, Facebook announced that ads would be coming to its Oculus headset in a trial, starting with Blaston from Resolution Games and “a couple other developers that will be rolling out over the coming weeks.”
But shortly afterwards and after a fierce backlash from gamers, Resolution Games pulled out of the trial, saying the game “isn’t the best fit” for in-game advertising. However, Resolution did admit that ads might be added to one of its free games, Bait!, in the future.
Facebook backtracks on promises…again
Launched in 2012, Oculus was bought by data-hungry tech giant Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. At the time, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey said you wouldn’t need a Facebook account to use Oculus. Yet this change was introduced last year to come into place for all users by 2023. He also promised Oculus would never “flash ads at you”—and has said since that he believed this at the time.
The Oculus itself is more affordable than some rivals, which has helped fuel its growth—the Oculus Quest 2 has around 30% of the PC market and sold around a million headsets in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. But this leaves Facebook in a position where it needs to profit from the device, which is where the ad trial comes in.
“Facebook is clearly worrying about its revenue streams,” says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET. “In-headset ads make a mockery of a system that has already been purchased when users believed it was funded via a different model. If they are still attempting to bring more people into virtual reality, this may not be the best way to go about it.”
Ways to control Oculus ads …
Activist Post reports regularly about Virtual Reality (VR) and other unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following links:
- Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
- Environmental Health Trust
- Physicians for Safe Technology
- Wireless Information Network
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