Back in August, Facebook announced that they would start requiring a Facebook account to use future Oculus devices. This was received with all the love that Facebook̵
What happened next could not be more on the nose if it had happened in a movie. End users who sign up for Facebook or try to link their accounts to Facebook will find themselves permabened by the site. In addition, the automatic banning tools that Facebook uses them tell you that the decision is permanent and cannot be undone. Users have taken reddit and Twitter to discuss the issue.
This is the message that people get. So does the line in red automated not make sense? FYI is the only reason this is being addressed now because they should not because they want to. Do you want to comment on FB? pic.twitter.com/FHOBXC2j4H
– Ivan Teece (@ivanteece) October 16, 2020
Requiring end users to start using Facebook accounts, as if this represented some kind of enhancement of the end user experience, took chutzpah enough, but look at the bit circled in red. “We have already reviewed this decision and it cannot be reversed.”
1). Yes, it can be. Any decision to ban an account can be revoked. Deleted accounts can be recovered. As Facebook insists on a real-name policy, the company could impose a period of 72-96 hours before unlocking an available username, just to allow for an appeal / review process. If it does not, it is because it does not want to.
2). No human has reviewed this decision. It is obvious. People are banned by automated fines. After being banned, they are told that because a computer has made a decision, the decision cannot be appealed to a human being. This is a perfect example of how the supposed infallibility of computers makes life much more difficult for humans.
Facebook has since admitted that it may have screwed up and asked customers to reach out and contact it. But consider the consequences: Facebooks Standard is to claim that its computers are so infallible that no error may be committed. It is trustworthy in this claim that it feels safe to beat it with a broad notice to be sent to anyone whose account has been banned, for whatever reason.
Customer service Used to be something people expected. Today, customer service is something that Internet companies for the most part cannot be bothered to provide. Problems with Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr or Microsoft? Good luck ever talking to a human being if you are not a massive business customer, and sometimes even if you is. Help resources for these services are limited to a list of frequently asked questions that you are unlikely to ask, and perhaps some forums that end users can post their problems to ignore.
This is from reddit, but you are clearly not helpful with the issues that are going on. This is systemically broken. pic.twitter.com/ElEuMkLBah
– Michael Angel #BLM (@MichPAngel) October 16, 2020
According to a Reddit reader, starting a ticket with Oculus just leads to getting an email directing you to check out Facebook Help. If you want to appeal a Facebook ban – because apparently some bans * are * appelable despite the wording – you need to submit photographic proof of ID. This does not change the fact that the company in advance tells people that bans are final.
To me, Oculus is dead. I do not care if the as yet unannounced Oculus Quest 3 provides x-rays and craps gold doubles. Facebook’s behavior has made it impossible for me to recommend someone to get involved in the service for any reason, including giving it more information about any part of your life. There’s also the minor fact that Facebook no longer cares about PC games specifically, has canceled future Rift development, and does not bother to build proper IPD adjustments in Quest hardware. Nothing says “F *** off”, like refusing to build hardware that works with the full range of human eyeballs.
I’ve loved Oculus hardware, but I’m not an objective observer on this subject, and I will not pretend to be. I love the fact that the best VR company with consumers has decided to become the worst VR company for the consumer solely to suck a little more personal information that no one will give them. This is does not the official statement from ExtremeTech. My colleague Ryan has a review of Quest 2 soon.
Presumably Facebook will fix this account ban issue, but readers who encounter it are advised (by myself) to put their Quest 2 in backup and return it to the store. If you have been away from Facebook or never signed up, treat this meeting as symbolic of how you can expect to be treated by the company.
I would never recommend an Oculus product again, under any circumstances. If I get the choice between a free Oculus Quest 2 and the $ 900 Cosmos Elite from HTC, I take Cosmos every single time. That is strictly my opinion and I do not want to pretend that everyone shares it. Lots of people will say “Eh, what can you do?” and buy a Quest 2 anyway. I’m under illusions. Nevertheless, there comes a point where a company has acted so badly, so often, that it is no longer possible to recommend someone to get involved in it if they can help it. For my part, Facebook blew through this barrier many years ago. The mandatory data integration is the last straw. I do not pass on data to Facebook on my own gaming habits.
I respect that many people do not agree with that, but part of being a reviewer is being honest about where you stand on products, even if you are not actively reviewing them at the time. I loved Oculus Quest. If Oculus Quest 2 lacked mandatory Facebook integration, I would be willing to recommend it to anyone whose eyes could use it.