The night before last, I was enjoying a game of Star Trek Bridge Crew with a new acquaintance. We got along well and decided to add each other as friends. I went to add my new friend, as I had many times before, but found myself confronted by a message insisting that I link a facebook account. This made me angry.
I don't use facebook as a matter of principle. I once had an active account, like all the other drones, but made the decision to dissolve it some time ago. My reasons were simple. Aside from not wanting my personal information used as a commodity, facebook is an invasion of my privacy. I don't want everyone knowing my every movement. Even if I don't post anything, all it takes is for someone to tag me in a photo and my privacy is violated.
Now I was faced with a choice. Yield to this unsettling demand or lose the ability to add new friends on my Quest. I thought to myself, 'perhaps I can do this without anyone knowing'. But I had underestimated the intrusive nature of facebook.
If I was going to be bullied into creating a facebook account against my will, I was going to be a ghost. No one but the handful of people I socialise with through Oculus would know that I had betrayed my beliefs for my Oculus Quest. I created an account using a different last name, and had planned to invoke every privacy feature at my disposal.
Just a few minutes after creating the account someone I knew had sent me a friend request, which meant people were already aware of my presence on facebook. In spite of the fact that I had used a random last name and had no intention of alerting anyone to my reluctant incursion into facebook, my privacy had already been violated. Not only that, the fact that I had tried to obscure my identity was obvious.
I frantically scoured the settings, trying to remove any indication of my existance. But I soon came to the realisation that facebook has made this very difficult, if not impossible. It seems you can limit your visibility, but you can't remove it completely. My heart sunk as it became clear that I would have to make a difficult choice. I would have to choose between the modern wonder of virtual interaction with another human being and my privacy.
My opinion of facebook was just starting to change. With the Oculus Quest they had brought something wonderful into the world, and into my life. And they hadn't tried to force facebook down my throat as a condition of ownership. But now my feelings of mistrust have returned. And I'm angry. Angry enough that I want to sell my Quest in defiance, regardless of how much joy it brings me. I'm not sure if I can bring myself to do that, but at the very least I will most likely limit my VR experiences to single player experiences. It will feel very lonely, but at least I can exercise my right to privacy.
The best way to fly under the facebook radar is making an oculus/facebook forum account and reviving a 2 year old thread. If you think they're interested in tracking you personally then they're certainly after you now! Watch out! Put tape over the web cam and look in the bushes!