So I am definitely against a Facebook account but yet my business has one. The reason is that Facebook isn’t just a website any more but a technology behemoth that owns scores of advanced technology patents and companies producing really cool things. Facebook is a founding member of the “Frightful 5” companies we hate to love. But the Oculus Quest 2 is a pretty compelling technology package for a reasonable price. Just a few years ago, prices for similar technology were a magnitude higher: $4,000 vs $400. I easy paid close to $4,000 for an original Hololens and similarly for a Vive (plus Computer) Rig. The Oculus Quest 2 has the best features of both those earlier devices all while increasing the visual depth, refresh rate, and removing any traces of wires from your head.
On the other hand, a Facebook account and a mobile device (ie, smartphone) are required to even set it up. The Oculus Quest 2 won’t just work on your local network with a WiFi signal. You need to create a Meta Facebook account, you must have GPS enabled, and if you want to do anything with an application (in VR) you will need to provide a credit card, too! Virtual Reality is cool but those requirements are a nightmare because the Quest 2 is sending telemetry from inside your home. The embedded cameras are taking pictures of your room and activity around you at all times (in high resolution). Facebook tracking was scary before they could watch inside your home in real time! Did I mention it also has an embedded voice-activated Artificial Intelligence listening for commands at all times?
So what’s a technophile to do? I actually got my Quest 2 as a gift and rather than send it back because of a Facebook account requirement, I created an anonymous Facebook account. What is an anonymous Facebook account? Its a fake account with bogus data. I’d feel bad about it except Facebook has been at the heart of Fake News, election scandals, and questionable practices. So given all that, creating an anonymous Facebook account just seems the prudent way to protect yourself.
First, follow this simple guide to create a Smart Burner Phone. That will take care of 75% of the tracking and leave you with a nice anonymous Facebook account. I did have one issue and that was when first setting up the Facebook account on the Smart Burner Phone. The Facebook app told me there was a problem with account creation and refused me with an error (how rude!). It turns out that sometimes when Pre-Paid numbers are turned over, they aren’t released by applications and so are still associated with another account. Just switch off the Cellular and try only with WiFi and it should work. If not, try the opposite – turn off WiFi and try only with Cellular. In my case, it was Facebook didn’t like my WiFi (home) IP Address (likely because of previous experiments).
While no one knows who you are (on your Smart Burner Phone), if you don’t take a couple extra steps, Facebook will know where you are in the physical world. Knowing your GPS location and your IP Address where you live is likely sufficient to identify you. To prevent being identified by your home address you can hide your IP Address by using a VPN app or a privacy router like the AMENDMENT1. To defeat the GPS Location Data requirement, add one of the free GPS Spoofing apps to your Smart Burner Phone.
The final concern is supplying your credit card for purchases. Once you give out your credit card all data will be tied to the identity of the card owner. This is likely a higher risk factor than your IP Address or GPS Location. However, there are lots of easy options for providing anonymous credit card purchasing information. The easiest option is to pick up a Prepaid Gift Card when you are setting up the Smart Burner Phone. Another alternative is using an Oculus Gift Card. Finally, using your real smart phone, invest a few dollars a month in an app like MySudo and generate your own Debit Cards.
Enjoy using your new Oculus Quest 2 with peace of mind!