Should Facebook Integration Be a Deal-Breaker for Potential Oculus Users?

The Oculus Quest 2 is a groundbreaking device in terms on its price point and its impressive capabilities. However, for some the fact Oculus is owned by Meta aka Facebook makes it an unnerving proposition in terms of privacy.

Is Facebook integration a valid deal-breaker for users that value privacy, or is its significance being overestimated online? Let’s take a look at the facts and then approach the conclusion that works for you. Privacy is rarely a one-size-fits-all matter, and Oculus headsets are no different.

Beef with the Facebook Login Requirement

Not long ago, pretty much everyone and their mother had a Facebook account. These days, generation Z doesn’t see it as a must-have app. Others have opted to delete their Facebook account to pull the plug on their social media presence or focus on other platforms.

In 2020 Meta decided to make a Facebook account a requirement to use Oculus headsets, and the internet went a bit mad. There were reports of people that got locked out of using their Quest VR hardware, and others simply got vocal about not wanting to use Facebook.

To Meta’s credit they recognized the backlash and started working on adding a native Oculus login option so Facebook would no longer be a necessity.

During his Connect keynote in October 2021, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that the restriction would soon be ending:

“As we’ve focused more on work, and frankly as we’ve heard your feedback more broadly, we’re working on making it so you can log into Quest with an account other than your personal Facebook account. We’re starting to test support for Work Accounts soon, and we’re working on making a broader shift here within the next year. I know this is a big deal for a lot of people. Not everyone wants their social media profile linked to all these other experiences, and I get that, especially as the metaverse expands. And I’ll share more about that later.”

And they’ve made good on that promise. When you go to the Oculus website you can choose to login with your Facebook account or Oculus account.

Does Facebook Share Personal Data with Oculus?

If you do choose to login to Oculus with Facebook, you’re likely wondering what the privacy implications are.

Indeed, some information gets shared across services. There is evidence of this when you see Facebook social options in VR. Depending on your perspective it can be seen as a way to provide useful features pulled from Facebook or an annoyance if you want to move away from the social media app.

Oculus also gives you the option to add multiple users to a headset. Thus, you can create a new user and maintain a different friend list for your VR experiences.

In December 2019, Facebook said that Oculus VR data would be used to show users the most relevant content (including ads) on Facebook if the two accounts are linked.

So, if you’re uncomfortable about giving Facebook another means to track your activity and aren’t interested in the social integrations on the Oculus platform, you’ll likely want to use a separate login for Meta whether you use Facebook or not.

This means there’s no longer a concrete reason to pass on an Oculus headset due to Facebook integration alone. If you don’t use your Facebook login with Oculus there’s no link between the apps, and your data won’t be used outside the Oculus ecosystem.

Meta’s Quest to Regain Trust

Facebook has certainly received its fair share of scrutiny over the years for its approach to privacy.

A recent poll by the Washington Post found that 72 percent of Internet users trust Facebook “not much” or “not at all” to responsibly handle their personal information and their Internet activity data.

It’s reached a point where anything that has Facebook associated with it gets a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to privacy matters.

Rebranding Facebook as Meta was an attempt to create a new start. Their founder Mark Zuckerberg has said Meta is now a metaverse company.

This puts them in a tricky position because its social media and advertising revenue that has created their success. Thus, Oculus can’t divorce itself from the Facebook name quite yet.

Is the Metaverse the Privacy Hole?

Are Oculus users that don’t trust the Facebook app ignoring the elephant in the room?

A VR headset tracks a person’s body movements, eye movements, and can even detect emotions though facial tracking. Thus, one can argue the tech from social media apps is the least of one’s worries when experiencing the metaverse.

Marcus Carter, a senior lecturer in digital cultures at the University of Sydney think it’s VR tech that people should be wary about. In fact, he went so far to say “Facebook’s VR push is about data, not gaming.”

“Metaverse technologies like VR and AR are perhaps the most data-extractive digital sensors we’re likely to invite into our homes in the next decade,” Carter said.

Meta has stated that they’ve dramatically improved their approach to user data privacy with their move into VR. They plan to put their users in the driver’s seat by giving them the necessary tools to manage their data.

Still, it leads back to the trust issue. With such extensive capabilities at tracking our every movement, there’s great temptation for Meta or third-party developers to find ways to benefit from the data it generates.

The Verdict

Right now, it’s fashionable to bash Facebook. Despite their less than perfect track record with how they’ve handled user data, the company continues to evolve. There’s no doubt that what they’re building with Oculus and the metaverse has gone well beyond showing promise.

Many decision makers at Meta want to move on from Facebook just as much the growing number of Internet users that have had their fill of the platform. But the reality is true independence from Facebook will only be possible when Oculus and the metaverse truly becomes their bread and butter.

VPN Not Working with Netflix? Here’s How to Fix It

Have you used a VPN with Netflix then encountered an error page you weren’t expecting?

You’re not alone. Netflix wants their customers see content intended for their region only. And they’re well aware that plenty of users want to bypass that restriction.

If you reached an unplanned popcorn break, odds are this is the page that appeared:

So, is this the end of the road for using VPNs with Netflix?

Not at all! Although Netflix has made it harder to use a VPN to view content outside your region, it still works if you’re using an IP that hasn’t been identified as a VPN.

Quick reminder: To achieve anonymity VPNs replace your true IP address with an IP associated with the VPN service. So, for example If you select a US location with the VPN software it will mask your actual location and assign you with an IP address in the US that they own.

Now that everyone knows how it basically works, let’s look at how you can solve this issue.

How to Get Past the Netflix Streaming Error Page

1. Try a different server

If your VPN allows you to select a different IP located in the country you desire, try that.

It’s possible the IP you’re accustomed to using has been blocked by Netflix, but other IPs that can be selected with your VPN software work fine.

Of course, if you don’t have the option to select a different IP address directly, you’ll want to move to the next troubleshooting suggestions below.

2. Change the VPN protocol

Surprising as it may sound, sometimes you can work around the problem simply by switching to a different protocol with your VPN software.

There are a number of protocols in existence, however the ones you can utilize will vary depending on your VPN provider.

The most common VPN protocols are:

  • PPTP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN
  • SSTP
  • IKEv2

Speed and the level of security is different with each protocol, and they all have their pros and cons.

The only one you should think twice about using is PPTP as this is the oldest protocol. The speed is decent but its security leaves much to be desired compared to the other options listed.

Of course, changing the VPN protocol is only a temporary measure if you’re forced to choose a protocol that doesn’t meet your standards. But in most cases, you won’t notice much of a difference.

3. Switch to another VPN

Not all VPNs are good choices for use with Netflix.

If you keep having to jump through hoops to get streaming to work, it could be time to look at alternative solutions.

Some VPN providers are focused on keeping their service working smoothly with Netflix, while its not on the radar for others.

Also, which service works and which doesn’t can change quickly. Some power users are signed up to more than one VPN service to improve their chances of having a solution at their fingertips.

Before switching, do your research to ensure other users are using Netflix without issues. There’s a Reddit group called NetflixViaVPN dedicated to the topic of using Netflix with a VPN. It’s helpful for finding the latest information.

Also, check out LetMeBy’s reviews of the top 3 VPN services as these are the best performers all-around.

How Does Netflix Know You’re Using a VPN?

Streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix all have systems put in place that aim to detect if you’re using a VPN.

If your IP matches the IPs in their database that they’ve identified as VPNs you’ll get the streaming error page.

The good news is the best VPN services are always adding fresh IPs for their users to select as well as finding ways to allow their customers to keep using the services they love (such as Netflix).

Will Netflix Ban You for Using a VPN?

Although Netflix wants you to use their services as they intended, they don’t want lose you as a customer either.

Internet privacy aficionados have been using VPNs with Netflix for years and there are no reports about even receiving warnings from Netflix for this.

Thus, your Netflix account is safe.

Conclusion

Using a VPN with Netflix can be frustrating at times, but having access to content from different regions is a real game changer for film and TV buffs.

If you come across the dreaded Netflix streaming error page, don’t fret as there’s always a way around it. And if it’s just a question of changing your IP address, or your VPN protocol, consider it a good day.

Metaverse Brings Privacy Risks with Its Startling Possibilities

The great power of the approaching metaverse comes with great responsibility. Facebook has released its plans to responsibly build the metaverse with its partners.

They’re considering ways they can minimize the amount of user data that is needed to accomplish founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision. Their aim is to build tech to “enable privacy-protective data uses.” In theory, users will be able to see how their data is used, and they’ll be able to control it.

However, what sounds good on paper and the real-world implementation are two very different things.

Facts are facts: Facebook is the least trusted social media app in terms of privacy. Nearly one-third of US Facebook users have some reservations about how the platform protects their privacy and data.

Trust is very hard to gain, and it can be lost in an instant. Facebook’s journey to reassure users that their metaverse is safe will be met with healthy skepticism.

The inherent risks of the metaverse could prove to be just as vast as it’s infinite possibilities. Before we tackle that issue, let’s look at what the metaverse is.

Wait, What’s the Metaverse?

The metaverse is the vision of virtual reality you’ve seen in movies for decades.

Imagine walking down a bustling street in Tokyo from the comfort of your condo in Miami. You look up and see a soaring building covered with brightly lit signs.

As you lower your gaze you notice a small souvenir shop with a large toy robot displayed by the window. You walk right in, and purchase the toy.

Now, this isn’t a video game. You used real digital currency to get it. Soon after you see a confirmation message that tells you they’ve received your order. The shop is now preparing it for shipment to your physical address in Miami.

This is just one example of how the metaverse will allow virtual worlds and reality to collide.

Biometric Data and Brainwaves

Tech companies can tell us what they will and won’t do, but to really understand the privacy implications of the metaverse it’s best to know what the hardware is capable of.

Virtual reality headsets are able to make use of biometric data. The user’s environment, physical movement, and dimensions can all be tracked.

Naturally, headsets and eyeglasses are ideal for tracking eye movements. Moreover, it’s possible to track the physiological reaction to experiences found within the metaverse, such as heart rate.

This is where it gets just as astonishing and it is alarming. Soon, brain-computer interfaces (BCI) will allows us to access the metaverse through smart wearables such as headphones, watches, and glasses.

BCIs collect brain signals, analyses them, and then translates them into commands smart devices can understand and execute on.

These BCIs will have access to one’s very thoughts, so malicious users in the metaverse may be able to crack the code and gain access to our brain activity if robust security measures aren’t in place.

Additionally, users will have to trust that all parties that have access to BCI data will use it solely to control the functions of their software, and not to harvest our thoughts.

Metaverse Privacy by Design

Software developers responsible for building the metaverse are aware of the threats, and they’ll act accordingly. Privacy by design is to be standard practice.

In other words, software will be built with user privacy in mind from the start, rather than adding it later to appease users and lawmakers.

Existing laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have driven app makers to be transparent about when private data is being accessed. For example, Google Glass displays icons and outputs audio to let users know when they’re being recorded.

Advertisers Want Your Data

Sometimes we forget that much of the technology we use every day is ad supported. It makes social media, freemium mobile games, and access to professional journalism all possible.

Consequently, user data is needed to show us ads with products we’re actually interested in.

The desires of users and advertisers clash when it comes to privacy and data. Of course, users want strong privacy. And advertisers need access to information about consumers to run their ad campaigns efficiently.

Realistically, the needs of advertisers often edge out the wants of users. Whoever pays the bills for the metaverse to run holds the real power.

Consumers have their wins too, such as Google’s decision to phase out third party cookies that track user activity.

However, historically advertisers have always been granted tools to benefit from user data. The methods of collecting and sharing that data simply change. Thus, it’s difficult to believe that a company like Facebook will take user privacy to such an extreme that it turns off advertisers.

Implications of Surveillance and AI

“The company that builds the metaverse will actually listen in on every conversation and watch every person,” said former Google and Apple exec Kai-Fu Lee.

“That on the one hand can make the experience very exciting because it can see what makes you happy and give you more of that,” he adds. “But then what is the notion of privacy in a metaverse?”

Whether a company like Facebook collects user data or not, the fact they must literally capture your every movement for the VR experience to work, is alarming.

AI will also play a huge role in making immersive worlds possible.

You’ve seen this concept in video games, when you interact with NPCs (non-player characters) that have a mind of their own. Since reality and virtual reality come together in the metaverse, the stakes are much higher.

U.N. leaders have warned that AI could pose a threat to human rights.

“AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic effects,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Conclusion

The metaverse is a brave new world, full of amazing possibilities and dangers.

It could be Facebook, but there’s no telling which corporation will succeed at bringing the metaverse to our homes.

Every time we’re in the metaverse we’ll partially check-out of reality. Yet everything we do and say will be monitored, and some of our actions will affect our life in the physical world.

Ultimately creators of the metaverse need to design a world that serves people, rather than making us serve the metaverse.

How to Hide your IP on Xbox One & Series X/S

xbox-one-settings

There are plenty of reasons why it’s better to protect your real IP by using a VPN with Xbox Live.

First, there are unscrupulous players that use DDOS attacks in games like Call of Duty to retaliate and get their rivals temporarily disconnected from online play.

Second, you’ll be able to take advantage of services available outside your country, such as the U.S. version of Netflix if you live in Canada, for example. Lastly, since games are released in different time zones or on different dates in other countries, you may be able to access new games sooner than your neighbors.

Unlike the PS5, you cannot set up a VPN server directly in Xbox system software. Instead you’ll need to share your computer’s VPN with your Xbox or centralize your VPN tunnel with a router so your home computer, devices, and Xbox all pass through it.

Whether you have an Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or Xbox 360, the process is the same. That being said, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of hiding your IP address on Xbox.

First Method: Connecting to a VPN Through a Router

If you’re permitted to make changes to your entire home network, this is a straightforward way to change your IP.

Note that you’ll need a VPN to complete this tutorial. If you don’t have one, go to LetMeBy’s top-rated VPNs.

Step 1

You’ll need to use an Ethernet cable to connect your modem to your router using the WAN port.

Step 2

Next, open the router’s control panel. This is usually accessible via a Web browser. Enter the IP address associated with your router in the address bar of the browser. If you don’t know how to find the right IP, follow this tutorial for Windows.

The next steps will vary depending on the manufacturer/model of your router and the VPN company.

Step 3

Click on the ‘Basic Setup’ / ‘Network’ / ‘Basic’ tab in your router control panel or wherever you can find the options relating to WAN configuration or Internet connection.

Step 4

Enter the information provided by the VPN provider (username, password, gateway, subnet mask, etc.).

Step 5

Choose the protocol recommended by the VPN provider to work with their services (ex. PPTP w/ DD-WRT, OpenVPN w/ DD-WRT).

Step 6

Adjust the DCHP settings depending on the requirements of the VPN service.

Step 7

Click ‘Save’ / ‘Apply Settings’ / ‘Connect’ and you’re finished!

Second Method: Using a PC for VPN Setup

Another option is to use your Windows-based PC to share the VPN connection with your Xbox. This is divided into two parts: 1) Windows settings and 2) Xbox settings.

Windows Settings: Setting up the VPN

Step 1

In Windows, go to ‘Control Panel’ > ‘Network and Sharing Center’

Step 2

After you click on ‘Setup a New Connection or Network,’ a wizard will appear in a new window.

Step 3

Select ‘Connect to a Workplace’ then click ‘Next.’

Step 4

When the wizard asks you how you’d like to connect, choose ‘Use my Internet Connection (VPN).’

Step 5

Enter the Internet Address and Destination Name given to you by the VPN provider. After you’ve finished filling in the details, click on ‘Next.’

Step 6

Finally, enter the Username and Password provided by the VPN service and click ‘Connect’.

Now that you’ve completed the settings on the PC side, you’re ready to fire up your Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or 360 and proceed with the next part.

Xbox Settings: Connecting to the VPN

Step 1

Press the ‘Xbox’ or ‘LIVE’ button on your Xbox controller.

Step 2

Go to the ‘Settings’ tab and choose ‘System Settings.’

Step 3

Now that you’re in the ‘System Settings’ menu, you can select ‘Network Settings.’

Step 4

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or 360 will now automatically detect the Wi-Fi connections that are available. Choose the appropriate network from the list.

Step 5

Now, enter the WPA key. It can be found printed on sticker on the underside of your router.

Step 6

Finally, the Xbox system software will prompt you to ‘Test Connection.’ Do this to ensure you’re ready to use the VPN with your favorite games!

Recommended services:

How to Hide your IP Address on PS4 & PS5

xmb-settings

There are numerous benefits to using a VPN to change the IP on your Playstation.

You can do it to access Netflix movies available in a country outside your own, reduce lag when gaming online, access games available in different countries, or protect yourself from DDOS attacks.

An easy, effective way to hide your IP address is to use the Internet Connection functions built right into your console’s operating system.

It’s done in a pretty similar fashion on PS4 and PS5, although it has been streamlined on the PS5. Instructions for both are provided separately below.

Hide your IP on PS5:

Step 1

From your PS5’s main menu, go to ‘Settings.’ Look for the icon looks like a cog.

Step 2

Select ‘Network,’ choose ‘Settings,’ then go to ‘Set up Internet Connection.’

Step 3

Choose your existing internet connection. If you haven’t set up your home network, proceed with that now.

Step 4

Select ‘Advanced Settings,’ then go to ‘DNS Settings.’ Finally, choose ‘Manual.’

Step 5

Enter the primary and secondary DNS provided to you by your VPN service provider.

That’s it!

Note that you need a VPN to complete the final step and successfully hide your IP. LetMeBy’s top-rated VPNs are listed below.

Recommended services:

Hide your IP on PS4:

Step 1

From the main menu in XMB, go to ‘Settings.’

Step 2

Move down through the options and select ‘Network.’

Step 3

From the Network screen, select the first option, ‘Connect to the Internet.’

Step 4

XMB will now ask if you’re using a Wi-Fi or LAN connection to access the Internet with your PS4. Select whichever one is appropriate for your situation.

Step 5

XMB will ask how you want to set up your Internet connection. Choose ‘Custom.’

Step 6 (Wi-Fi only)

If you’re using a Wi-Fi connection you’ll have to select the name of the network from the next menu.

Once that is done, enter the password for that network.

Step 7

It will ask for your DHCP Host Name. Select ‘Do Not Specify.’

Step 8

For DNS Settings, choose ‘Automatic.’

Step 9

For your MTU Settings, do the same and select ‘Automatic.’

Step 10

Now we’ve reached the important part! For the Proxy Server, choose ‘Use.’

Step 11

Enter the IP Address of your VPN server as well as the Port Number below that.

If you don’t have one or know what this is, go to LetMeBy’s top-rated VPNs.

Step 12

Now that you’ve entered the specific info for your VPN, XMB ask you to save your setting on the next screen.

Next, you’ll be prompted to test your Internet connection. Now you’ll be certain if the VPN is up and working properly.

And that’s a wrap!