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Facebook inadvertently placed secret messages such as “Big Brother is Watching” inside tens of thousands of virtual reality (VR) controllers.
According to Nate Mitchell, Head of VR product at Facebook, the so-called “easter eggs” were intended only for prototype devices but instead found their way into consumer models.
Other hidden messages, placed onto hardware inside the controllers, included “Hi iFixit! We See You!” – a reference to a company known for dismantling tech products online – to “This Space For Rent.”
Another message, “The Masons Were Here,” appears to reference Freemasonry, the fraternal organization that has long been associated with conspiracy theories.
Mitchell went on to state that while the messages may have been humorous, such actions are frowned upon at Facebook.
“While I appreciate easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed,” Mitchell said. “The integrity and functionality of the hardware were not compromised, and we’ve fixed our process so this won’t happen again.”
While I appreciate easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed. The integrity and functionality of the hardware were not compromised, and we've fixed our process so this won't happen again. [3/3]— Nate Mitchell (@natemitchell) April 12, 2019
Although none of the affected models have been released, Facebook informed Business Insider that the devices will still make their way to consumers.
“To be clear, no devices have been sold with these messages yet, since Quest and Rift S have not yet shipped,” Facebook spokesperson Joanna Peace said. “That said, as mentioned in Nate’s tweet, the messages will be inside tens of thousands of controller pairs that will ship to consumers when Quest and Rift S ship.”
While the vast majority of Oculus owners will never take apart their controllers and find the messages, news of the hidden content will almost certainly raise eyebrows given Facebook’s already tarnished public image.
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H/T Business Insider
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.