Facebook is set to test ads in its Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset. The social media giant said on June 16 that it would begin an in-headset advertising experiment with Blaston, a video game developed by Resolution Games. In the coming weeks, ads will appear on some other apps as well. The primary objective, the company said, is to get more people into VR, advance the consumer experience and make progress on our long-term augmented reality (AR) initiative. Furthermore, it states that it is also a step towards creating a healthy and “self-sustaining platform” for VR development. Users are not very happy with the move and have shared their concerns on Twitter.
Facebook Reality Labs vice president Andrew Bosworth tweeted that Facebook wants to help developers generate revenue and help people discover better experiences at better prices. “This is part of how we will create a healthy, self-sustaining platform for all,” Bosworth wrote.
We’re starting a small test of in-headset ads with a few developers in the coming weeks. We want to help developers generate revenue and help people find great experiences at better prices – it’s all part of how we’ll build a healthy, self-sustaining platform for everyone.
— boz (@boztank) June 16, 2021
If you’re worried about what ads you’re going to see, there’s some relief.
Bosworth said in a later tweet that users can manage the ads they want to see, and “we’re including controls to hide specific ads or hide ads” from an advertiser entirely.
“Advertising in VR will be different from other ads and this is one space that will take time and get people’s response right,” he said.
You can manage which ads you want to see and we’re including controls to hide specific ads or hide ads from an advertiser altogether. Ads in VR will be different from ads elsewhere and this is one space that will take time and get people’s response right https://t.co/dHOlqHoOVF
— boz (@boztank) June 16, 2021
However, many people were not happy with Facebook’s decision to include ads in their VR experience and some were furious with their reaction to the announcement.
The only way you can “do it right” is to not put ads in VR. The work Facebook has done over the last 20 years is abhorrent and we can’t pretend you can do anything good for society with decisions like this. Have been,” tweeted user @boztank.
The Way You Can “Get It Right” Is Not To Put Ads In VR
The work done by Facebook in last 20 years is disgusting and we can’t pretend that you are doing any good to the society with these kind of decisions
– jongold.eth ???????? , , (@jongold) June 16, 2021
Another user @N3X15 tweeted, “I was going to buy an Oculus to test my games on that platform, but I suddenly don’t feel the urge. Thanks for alerting us to my preferences.”
I was going to buy an Oculus to test my games on that platform, but I suddenly didn’t feel that urge anymore. Thanks for alerting us to your preferences.
— Rob Nelson (@N3X15) June 16, 2021
Another user @disinformatico said that advertising was the last thing he wanted to see in VR. The user wrote, “The only way to fix this is not to do it.”
Ads are the last thing I want to see in VR.
The only way to fix it is not to do it.
— Paolo Ativissimo (@disinformatico) June 16, 2021
Here are some more reactions to Facebook’s announcement:
To be fair, it’s easier to manage ads than not buying your product at all.
Thanks for the heads up!
Parsable (trying to twitter-distance) (@paercebal) June 17, 2021
I want you to really know how much I hate this, fundamentally, and there are no healthy or consumer friendly ads, and they will be much more vicious in VR
— alix (@alixbox1723) June 17, 2021
Will “no ads from anyone at any time” be an option, or will I continue to never buy an Oculus?
— Kayalai (@kayalai) June 17, 2021
You don’t need response time, exactly what someone would want advertising in their VR headset. There’s no way to fix it. no one wants.
— Rigtoofen (@Rigtoofen) June 17, 2021
Allowing users to “manage the ads they want to see” is just another data grab. You are asking the user to further reduce their preference in their time so that you can charge more for “curated data”.
— Nicholas Shearer (@bit_by_bit) June 17, 2021
one in blog post, the company addressed some concerns including privacy raised by users on Twitter. Facebook said that adding privacy does not change its privacy or advertising policies. The company said that while the tests are underway, Facebook will receive information about how you interacted with the ad – whether you clicked on it or hid it.
“We do not use information processed and stored locally on your headset to target ads. Processing and storing information on device means it does not leave your headset or reach Facebook servers Therefore it cannot be used for advertising.” ,
Facebook also said it doesn’t use the content of people’s conversations on apps like Messenger, parties and chats or your voice conversations to target ads. This also includes any sound or piece of audio that your microphone may pick up when you use our voice command feature, such as “Hey Facebook, show me who’s online.”