This story is part of, CNET's exploration of the next stage in the internet's evolution.
Come August, people who use Meta's VR devices will no longer need their Facebook accounts to log in. The company is also updating its policies and rolling out more privacy controls in VR.
Why it matters
The changes reflect how the social network is doubling down on its metaverse ambitions. Requiring a Facebook login to use its VR devices was also a move that upset users.
The social media giant started requiring a Facebook login for its VR platform in 2020, upsettingor just didn't want to use the social network. At the time, the company said the move would make it easier for people to find and socialize with friends in VR.
In August, people will be able to create Meta accounts to log in to their Quest VR headsets and choose if they want to use their Facebook and Instagram accounts in VR. Once they create a Meta account, they'll be prompted to create a social profile in VR known as the Meta Horizon profile.
"This will give everyone more choice about how you show up in the metaverse," said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.
The new account structure is just one of the changes Meta is making in August to reflect its focus on the metaverse, virtual spaces where, in the company's vision, people work, play and socialize. Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta last year. The rebranding also affected Oculus, the VR headset maker Facebook purchased in 2014 for more than $2 billion. Meta renamed the Oculus Quest 2 headset the Meta Quest 2 headset.
Meta has different deadlines for when VR users will need to create a Meta account, and they depend on how people currently sign in to their VR devices. If you're a new VR device user or previously merged your Oculus account with your Facebook account, you'll be prompted in August to create a Meta account and Meta Horizon profile. People who previously merged their Oculus accounts with their Facebook accounts will be able to unlink them as well.
Even though in 2020 the social network started requiring a Facebook login to use its VR devices, the company also gave existing users the option to use their Oculus account until Jan. 1, 2023. After that deadline, those users will need to create a Meta account and Meta Horizon profile to continue to use the device.
Meta will ask for your name, email address, phone number, payment information and date of birth for age verification when you create this new type of account. Meta says this information will be private and that users will be able to create multiple Meta accounts.
People in most countries must be at least 13 years old to create a Meta account. In Spain and South Korea, the age requirement to create a Meta account is at least 14 years old.
Meta said in August that "friends" in VR will now become "followers," a structure that Meta-owned Instagram uses.
As part of these updates, Meta is also rolling out more privacy controls in VR. Users will be able to set their privacy settings to Open to Everyone, Friends and Family, and Solo. They'll also be able to set their Meta Horizon profiles to private so they can review and approve who they want as followers. Meta Horizon profiles for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 will be set to private by default.