'Hey Facebook' sets the company on a potential collision course with Siri

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Facebook Name Branding (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook is making "Hey Facebook" a wake word for its Oculus and Portal devices.
  • It's unclear if the company will expand the feature to its social app as well.

Facebook is starting to make its way into the world of voice assistants, potentially setting itself on a path that collides with other assistants like Siri, Google, and Alexa.

In a blog post on the Oculus website, the company announced that the Quest 2 will now support "Hey Facebook" as a wake word to enable users to make different kinds of voice commands on the device.

But today we're making it easier to access Voice Commands on-the-fly, adding an optional "Hey Facebook" wake word to Quest 2, with plans to release it to all Quest devices in the future. Our goal is to make Voice Commands a truly hands-free experience—and make it easier to take screenshots, cast, group up with your friends, and more. Record your favorite moments in Myst without leaving the island, start casting Beat Saber to your friends without dropping your combo, or launch right into a new game without digging through your library.

The company says that they will eventually roll out the experience to all versions of the Quest virtual reality headsets. If users do not currently have the option available to them, they should be able to find it under the Experimental Features settings. Importantly, the headset will not listen for the wake word when the microphone is turned off, the headset is asleep, or if it is turned off. They are also careful to say that "Hey Facebook" is an opt-in experience that can also be reverted if the user does not want the option anymore.

You also have control over whether your voice commands are stored and potentially used to make the feature better. You can easily view, hear, and delete your voice commands activity at any time or even turn off voice storage in your Settings, while still taking advantage of the Voice Commands feature. It's our responsibility to protect your privacy, and you can learn more about how we do that here.

As reported by The Verge, it appears that "Hey Facebook" is coming to the company's Portal devices as well.

The company only formally announced it was gradually rolling out to Quest headsets, but its Portal support page now lists "Hey Facebook" as an alternative to "Hey Portal." A look through the Wayback Machine shows it used to only list "Hey Portal" as recently as February 5th, 2021.

Facebook has not yet indicated if the "Hey Facebook" command could come to other services like its iOS app or other apps that exist under the company's umbrella like Instagram and WhatsApp. Only time will tell where the feature goes and if it will attempt to compete with other voice assistants.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.