Despite the name change and metaverse hyperbole, Facebook has always been at the center of the Meta software suite for users interacting with its broader ecosystem. While that may remain the case indefinitely, it’s clear the company is taking steps to ensure its next segment of users isn’t tied to a network that can still pay the bills but isn’t where the company sees its reinvention.
Next month, the company will introduce a new login type called a Meta account that will allow users to interact with products that previously might have required a Facebook account to use. At launch, users will be able to use their Meta account to register and log in to the company’s Quest hardware, functionality that will come to other Meta devices in the future, the company says. Users can choose to link their Meta account to their Facebook and Instagram accounts as well, or not. Unlike Facebook accounts, users can have multiple Meta accounts, the company says.
This change addresses the concerns of some VR users who complained about various quirks of relying on a private social media profile login to play video games. While many users were concerned about the privacy implications, others were frustrated by more organizational issues related to combining the two accounts with separate friend lists, settings, and rules.
Early next year, Meta accounts will be the standard login for VR users.
With the new system, VR users will sign up for a Meta account and a “Meta Horizon Profile” which will replace the Oculus account and be a home for things like the user’s avatar and username, which they will use in the entire Quest ecosystem. The most interesting thing about this change is that Meta is moving from a “Friends” model to a “Followers” model with the Horizon profile, it is worth noting that the new Meta accounts for children aged 13 to 17 will continue to be private by default. Meta’s efforts to bring TikTok-like functionality to Facebook and more hobbyist creators have been hampered by a predominantly private network of accounts. If the business can get new users to opt in to the default audience early on, the business will have much broader options in the content it offers over time.
For now, the scope of Meta accounts appears to be limited to VR logins, but it’s clear the company has a broader interest in ridding Facebook of the center of its user-oriented world.