Today’s headline at The Virge focuses on the way that Oculus, the Facebook-owned leading manufacturer of virtual reality (VR) headsets, is forcing its users into the Facebook social media ecosystem, and appears perfectly willing to soft-brick its own hardware to punish the reluctant or unwilling:

You’ll Need a Facebook Account to Use Future Oculus Headsets.

Oculus will soon require all of its virtual reality headset users to sign up with a Facebook account.

Starting later this year, you’ll only be able to sign up for an Oculus account through Facebook. If you already have an account, you’ll be prompted to permanently merge your account. If you don’t, you’ll be able to use the headset normally until 2023, at which point official support will end. Old headsets using non-linked accounts will still work, but some games and apps may no longer function.

Facebook also says that all future unreleased Oculus devices will require a Facebook login, even if you’ve got a separate account already.

Yes, that’s a clear violation of our nation’s anti-trust laws. No, anti-trust enforcement isn’t really a thing these days, which is how they can get away with it. Moving on. Antitrust in tech is a fascinating subject, but it’s not the ErosBlog beat.

Pornocalypse? Now, that’s our beat. From the article:

The new changes apparently consolidate Facebook’s management of its platforms. A new privacy policy will be administered by Facebook itself, not the separate Facebook Technologies hardware subsidiary, and “Facebook will manage all decisions around use, processing, retention and sharing of your data.” Oculus will also adopt Facebook’s core community standards rather than use a separate code of conduct, and Facebook will add a new “VR-focused” section to its standards.

Emphasis added by me: “Oculus will also adopt Facebook’s core community standards.” Boom. Headshot. That’s the ballgame. #Pornocalypse comes for Oculus. It’s right there in the Facebook community standards:

facebook prohibits porn on the oculus

The very first time I ever mentioned virtual reality porn on this blog was in 2016, when I quoted Mark Mann at The Walrus for the proposition that VR porn was a compelling use of virtual reality:

When it comes to porn, VR is so engaging that viewers “forget” it’s a simulation. The penis I saw through my headset, for example, seemed to rise from between my legs. It wasn’t an unnaturally large member, and the owner was caucasian, so it was believably my own. The model was life-size and more than life-like. It was so much like being alone in a room with another living, breathing human that my mind didn’t bother to contemplate the difference.

In a nutshell, that’s why porn has been a big driver of headset sales from the beginning. Porn is always a driver of new and expensive technologies, especially if you’re marketing the fancy new gadgets (and you always are) to well-off young tech-savvy men. And that’s why it’s always been a truism in tech that, if your system doesn’t have porn on it, your system is broken. In my 2013 The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All post, I quoted some 2008 words by Ethan Zuckerman that he attributed to his late-1990s experiences at Tripod, an early web hosting and prototypical social media company in what was called the “portal” space:

I’d offer the hypothesis that any sufficiently advanced read/write technology will get used for two purposes: pornography and activism. Porn is a weak test for the success of participatory media — it’s like tapping a mike and asking, “Is it on?” If you’re not getting porn in your system, it doesn’t work.

Porn has really worked well for Oculus/Facebook. The headset company had its origins in a successful 2012 Kickstarter, got bought by Facebook in 2014, and released its first consumer product in 2016. Thus, Facebook has been in complete control, throughout the product’s rise to prominence in the world of VR porn.

You might reasonably ask “What prominence?” So, let’s do a little experiment to assess that. Type “VR Porn” into your browser. As I write this, the first result is, no shock, a site called (They have, more than once, been ErosBlog advertisers.) One click (on “How to watch VR Porn”) takes you to their hardware page. Oculus products make up three of their ten supported platforms:

three oculus porn headsets

It’s the same old weary pornocalypse story. Tech companies (even ones like Facebook, which has #pornocalypse backed into its very bones) cheerfully allow porn during the initial stages of a new technology or social media project. Then, once the product reaches a certain stage of maturity, they decide it’s time to “go respectable” and push all the porn off the platform. Dance with the ones what brung ya? Hell no! We don’t even know those dirty perverts!

#Pornocalypse comes for us all. Today (with delayed/deferred rolling implementation stretching to 2023) it came for all the people who dropped large coin for an Oculus headset in the expectation of watching porn on it. Facebook says to you: “Sorry, suckers!”

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