Meta Platforms Inc is changing how users login into its Virtual Reality Technology headsets, reversing an earlier decision to require accounts from the company’s flagship Facebook app on the devices while retaining links to social connections there.
The company’s new “Meta accounts” will be available beginning in August, according to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post on Thursday.
After a backlash from users who had previously accessed the headsets using separate accounts from Oculus, the virtual reality company that Meta, then known as Facebook, acquired in 2014, the social media giant announced plans to remove the Facebook login requirement last year.
According to the company’s blog post, the new login structure will control device-level access and manage app purchases, while Meta Horizon profiles will represent the users’ social presence in virtual reality, with associated user names and avatars.
According to the company, people will be able to connect their profiles in a unified Meta Accounts Center, which will integrate existing social connections from Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger into their virtual reality technology experiences.
According to Reuters, the company will only combine user data across apps for counting users and enforce safety rules for accounts that are not added to the Accounts Center.
According to a copy of the post seen by Reuters, product chief Chris Cox referred to the change in a memo last week, referring to it as Project Simile and saying it would “power continuity across the metaverse.”
Meta has been pushing for the integration of accounts and other products across its “family of apps,” which provides users with cross-app functionality while allowing the company to consolidate data about their behavior across multiple environments.
In 2019, the company announced plans to unify its messaging structure across apps, and later that year, it launched Meta Pay, a payment service that allows users to process transactions across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.