Tone Deaf Facebook Did Cripple VR Headsets When Borked BGP Routing Took Down All Of Facebook

from the who-could-have-predicted? dept

For over a year now, we have discussed Facebook’s decision to require users of Oculus VR headsets to have active Facebook accounts linked to the devices in order for them to work properly. This decision came to be despite all the noise made by Oculus in 2014, when Facebook acquired the VR company, insisting that this very specific thing would not occur. Karl Bode, at the time, pointed out a number of potential issues this plan could cause, noting specifically that users could find their Oculus hardware broken for reasons not of their own making.

The changes will also impact the functionality of Oculus Quest’s “Link,” which lets users connect the standalone VR headset to a PC to expand its functionality. It also begs the question: what happens if you get banned by Facebook due to its incoherent and inconsistent moderation strategies? You suddenly can’t use your VR headset because Facebook’s algorithms stupidly ban you for posting photos of yourself breastfeeding?

And then, to the surprise of nobody here at Techdirt, a version of that very thing happened. Facebook users that had their accounts locked, typically due to having those accounts compromised by outside bad actors, found themselves unable to use their gear as normal and unable to get support through Facebook, especially if the issues were on legacy Oculus hardware for which the end user had not paid Facebook a penny. But a wonderful workaround was discovered! If those users went out and bought a brand new Oculus VR headset, suddenly Facebook support returned their messages.

None of this changed the core problem: what happens to owned hardware when suddenly a user’s Facebook account wasn’t accessible. Well, we all learned the answer to that question this week when Facebook accidentally decided to play a game of internet hide-and-seek by borking its BGP routing.

Facebook owns VR headset maker Oculus, and controversially requires Oculus Quest users to log in with a Facebook account. In numerous Reddit threads, many Quest owners say they have been able to use their headsets during the outage—to play VR games on Steam, for instance—but some say they can’t load their Oculus libraries, and those who just took a Quest 2 out of the box have reported that they’re unable to complete the initial setup.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Oculus wrote in one thread. “The teams are hard at work getting things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

It should be noted that these are problems of Facebook’s making, not end users. The decision to require linked Facebook accounts to use the features on the Oculus created this problem. And, frankly, it was a decision that rendered no true benefit to the customer. Facebook made this move specifically so that it could track user behavior for advertising purposes, all under the guise of just how great and easy it is for Oculus users to be able to login with just a Facebook account. Yawn.

But, when Facebook found all of its platforms unreachable on October 4th, Oculus owners got the tangential screw-job.

Facebook says that today’s extended outage did not compromise user data—it was actually a pretty boring networking error.

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication, the company posted on its blog. “This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

Services like a properly running and fully functional Oculus VR headset… for no reason other than Facebook greed. When you’re very busy trying to make the claim that you aren’t too big that you should be broken up, that you don’t have too much control over the everyday lives of the public, or that you don’t have too many tie-ins to daily life, well, this was not a good look.

Although, as I will never stop taking this victory lap on behalf of Karl Bode, it certainly was predictable.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: facebook

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Tone Deaf Facebook Did Cripple VR Headsets When Borked BGP Routing Took Down All Of Facebook”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
14 Comments
Anonymoussays:

I agree with all of the above but one note is the Facebook oculus headsets are the cheapest on the market , there should be an option to logout if Facebook after a few minutes, as most Vr games have single player modes they should not need a constant online connection. Of course the whole point of Facebook is to collect data on users to sell advertising i think all games should have an offline mode unless its a multiplayer game.
I’m surprised more free games do not have adverts built in. Apart from menus to buy items and lootboxs

Eldakkasays:

It should be noted that these are problems of Facebook’s making, not end users.

I do think it is a problem of end-users own making (at least those who purchased after the takeover). They were stupid enough to buy a VR headset that is tied to a Facebook account. Even if they purchased during the Facebook-owned but not-yet-tied period, they still made a very poor decision as that was the only way it was ever going to go, and many publications raised that possibility at the time of the Facebook takeover.

jack trowersays:

Set up AOL Email

When it comes to set up the mail settings then you have to go to the mail settings as only then you can give a proper setup. An AOL mail gives you the personalized experience that you always want to get but make sure that you have to follow not proper rules and regulations only then you can get the best results, Aol Sign Up Even it is very important to know how to update the settings that offer you perfect and feel exactly how you need it. To it is very important to go to the main settings to set up an AOL mail. You can customize it according to your need and you can easily set it down properly. Personalize you have to take a look towards how do you write emails, manage incoming messages general look of your inbox as well as set up AOL email. It is very crucial to check all these things only then you can check all email account properly.
https://www.supportviaremote.com/set-up-aol-email/

Anonymoussays:

The decision to require linked Facebook accounts to use the features on the Oculus created this problem. And, frankly, it was a decision that rendered no true benefit to the customer.

In other words, they’re collecting personal information without valid reason and with no way to opt out. So, where are the privacy regulators here? E.g. it seems a straightforward violation of Europe’s GDPR.

Ceyarreckssays:

Oh, just wait,...

and how NO ONE notices MicroFlaccid doing EXACTLY. the. same. thing with their OS,… which all started with .NET and has been progressively getting worse. (though none else sees this)

When, one will HAVE to be connected to an active Internet connection JUST to log into their winDoaz PC,..
all your photos, files, music, EVERYTHING will be "safe" on M$’ servers,…
until you renew your subscription both to an ISP and to M$.

Coffee Usays:

Quest 2 wasn't crippled for me.

My Quest 2 was asleep, and when FB was down I went to test. I first tried a game not involving any network play, so I started Crashland. It started without issue, and I even started a wave, so make sure it wansn’t just menu’ing, and all was good.

Then I tried Virtual Desktop (so I could try Steam games), and it worked.

Finally I connected by AirLink, and again was able to start a Steam Game without issue.

For games that involved FB Cloud sync (for off-device save files), I just disabled wifi, and then started it. I heard others (but didn’t test myself) that for games that had online play, one could also just disable wifi and it would work.

With all of that said, Linking FB/Oculus accounts is ridiculous and annoying. I really enjoy my Quest 2, but I can’t recommend it to someone without a pre-warning about "requires a FB account."

Anonymoussays:

Re: I do think it is a problem of end-users own making

Bollocks. Typical victim blaming.
Facebook are the baddies here, their users might have been naive and unrealistic but the "Disabled without an internet connection" feature was created and implemented by Facebook.
All you’re doing when blaming the victims is taking the heat off the real perps.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow