Facebook announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces, a new app that allows users to connect with friends and colleagues in an interactive virtual reality environment. Facebook Spaces is available for Oculus Rift and Touch. The app provides a way for social media users to hang out as they might otherwise in person. An avatar represents each user in Facebook Spaces. Its appearance is based on the user’s photo, but can be further modified with choices of eye color, hairstyle and facial features that best fit the person’s identity. After creating a virtual persona, users can use Messenger to connect with friends, interact in 360-degree spaces, and utilize the app’s selfie stick to further manipulate photos in the VR environment. Facebook hinted at how it might socialize virtual reality in a demo at last year’s F8 developer conference. Two employees engaged in a virtual space, even though the pair actually were 30 miles apart. With this week’s beta launch, the technology now is open to anyone with an Oculus Rift.