According to Facebook, when you’re inside Facebook Horizon you will not display your real name even though your Oculus account and Facebook account must be linked to use the app. Instead, all users will only see your Oculus ID.
You won’t have to wait much longer to try out Facebook Horizon, the upcoming collaborative world-building and game-creation social VR platform for Oculus Quest and Rift. The invite-only beta kicks off soon and we’ve already got impressions for you right here, but in the meantime privacy is a hot topic for any social VR application — especially from Facebook hot on the heels of the news that a Facebook account will soon be required to use hardware and software created under the Oculus umbrella.
During a video interview after our Horizon demo earlier this week, we discussed the differences between Oculus accounts and Facebook accounts as it pertains to the virtual world:
“So, when we announced Horizons last year, we did share that Horizons is a Facebook product, you log in with a Facebook account,” said Meaghan Fitzgerald, Head of Experiences and Product Marketing at Facebook Reality Labs. “But you still show up with your Oculus user ID to other people. So you’re not displaying your real name, you are displaying your Oculus user name. And we understand that people probably want some differentiation between the people they hang out with in VR and the people that they use their primary Facebook accounts with.
So that’s still going to be possible. You can actually add someone on an Oculus level. You can collaborate, you can build a world around a shared interest. And actually one of the things that we’ve been really excited about is that, collaboration of world-building, is one of the most engaging places where we’ve seen that innovation and creativity and people pushing the tools to the limit, and that all happens on the Oculus account-level.”
However, if a user violates community guidelines, is reported, gets banned, or some other sort of offense, their identity isn’t hidden to Facebook employees. Safety specialists can monitor interactions when reports are filed and likely have the power to ban your entire Facebook account altogether or at least ban it from accessing Facebook’s VR content.
“Safety is definitely a top priority for us,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re actually putting a number of things in place to make sure people feel safe. Trained safety specialists are one of those and they will react to a report. So if someone files a report of something going on, then a safety specialist will get involved and take a look.
But the tools actually go beyond just that one piece. And it’s about giving people control over their experience. So the safe mode, which I think you saw was an opportunity for people to create that report, but also take action themselves. If they want to mute someone in the space, if they want to block someone, they just want to pause and kind of like regroup and be in a zone where they’re not interacting with other people.
So we’re, we’re actually really focused on safety as something we want feedback on during the beta, so we can constantly improve and make that better.”
For more details on Facebook Horizon make sure and check out Jamie’s full hands-on impression piece, read up on our interview from last year, and check out details on the upcoming invite-only beta right here.
In the meantime, let us know what you think from what you’ve seen of Facebook Horizon. Is this a contender to overtake the likes of Rec Room and VRChat, or will it simply slot in alongside the rest? Let us know what you think down in the comments below!