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Articles - April 30, 2019

Facebook Ships Oculus with “Big Brother is Watching You” Inscribed on Them Among Other Random Phrases

In an era rife with conspiracy theories of all types, you would think that a major Fortune 500 firm like Facebook would do its best to avoid that kind of association.

Of course, the social media platform is often described as ground zero for a lot of these high-spun tales which include everything from the Illuminati taking over to the plague of “fake news.”

Heck, people even say that Facebook itself is an arm of the United States government that is spying on people and collecting reams of analytical information on its users in the process.

So you would think this company would avoid putting the phrase “Big Brother is Watching You” on its Oculus Rift headsets.

On that point, you might expect most companies would avoid that kind of phrase.

But that’s exactly what happened in what has to be one of the most baffling virtual reality related stories this year.

Another conspiracy theory related message reads: “The Masons were here.”

If you think this is bizarre, you’re not the only person.

And, if you don’t think it’s cute, you’re also not the only person.

In fact, both conspiracy theory oriented people and those of us who don’t care about such things agree that this is either a sad joke or some of the worst marketing ever conceived.

The messages showed up on the Oculus Rift’s Touch controllers and the company’s explanation for their appearance is almost as weird as the messages themselves.

Apparently, these messages were only intended for the prototypes that Oculus had made.

Somehow this escaped into the wild in the form of developer kits and, even more broadly, went into production as final models, reaching consumers and causing the Internet stir that we’re talking about right now.

Co-Founder of Oculus, Nate Mitchell, said, “Unfortunately, some ‘easter egg’ labels meant for prototypes accidentally made it onto the internal hardware for tens of thousands of Touch controllers.”

Here are the “Easter Eggs” that Mitchell is describing:

“This Space For Rent,” “The Masons Were Here,” “Big Brother is Watching,” and “Hi iFixit! We See You!”

Yeah, that’s totally not creepy at all, and definitely makes for some good meme material in the future.

Mitchell said in another Tweet, “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.”

Facebook rep Johanna Peace said of the messages, “To be clear, no devices have been sold with these messages yet, since Quest and Rift S have not yet shipped…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.”

Whatever the case, we’re sure Facebook would rather not imply that it is part of a global conspiracy, real or not.

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