Facebook recalls 4M Oculus Quest 2 headset components over rash issue

Facebook is pausing sales of its Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets and voluntarily recalling a part found in around 4 million of the devices, the company and federal regulators announced.

The affected piece in the devices is the “removable foam facial interfaces,” which sits around a user’s eyes and nose and provides a cushion between the headset and their face.

The black piece of equipment “can cause facial skin irritation and reactions including rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives, and bumps,” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The recall comes after the company received more than 5,700 reports of skin irritation related to the device, the CPSC said, and about 45 reports of users needing medical attention.

The Oculus headsets are among Facebook’s only efforts to break into hardware, and it’s part of the social media giant’s push into virtual reality as a way to prepare for the so-called “metaverse,” which some have likened to the next evolution of the internet.

The company released the Oculus 2 headsets, which cost between $300 and $400 depending on storage options, in September as a smaller and cheaper alternative to its predecessor.

Andrew Bosworth, head of Facebook reality labs, addressed the recall Tuesday in an open letter to Oculus users.

“As more people got into VR with Quest 2, we started receiving reports that a very small percentage of Quest 2 customers experienced some skin irritation after using the removable foam facial interface,” Bosworth wrote.

“While the rate of reports is small and the majority of reported cases are minor, we’re committed to ensuring our products are safe and comfortable for everyone who uses them,” he added.

In December, Facebook acknowledged in a blog post that some Oculus 2 users were experiencing skin issues and promised to investigate, Bosworth noted.

In April, the company said its investigation did not show “any contamination or unexpected substances in our manufacturing process,” according to CNN.

But the investigation also “identified a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process which could contribute to skin discomfort, and while these were already at levels below the industry standard, out of an abundance of caution we changed our process to reduce them even further.”

Facebook is issuing a silicone cover to rectify the issue.

Users don’t need to return the full headset to the company for repair. Rather, customers can request a free silicone cover that fits over the foam facial interface from Facebook, Bosworth said.

Once sales of the device resume, the company said it will include the silicone cover in the box when it ships.

“The team and I are committed to ensuring the quality of our products and the ongoing support and success of our developer community, with your safety and comfort as our top priority,” Bosworth said Tuesday. “The free silicone cover is part of that commitment.”

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