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Facebook ships Oculus Touch controllers with labels like ‘Big Brother is Watching’

Facebook ships Oculus Touch controllers with labels like ‘Big Brother is Watching’

Facebook shipped tens of thousands of controllers for its new Oculus headsets with ‘inappropriate easter eggs’ making light of the company’s privacy disasters. 

Nate Mitchell, Facebook’s head of VR, confirmed the firm had mistakenly included ‘easter egg’ messages on the devices.  

Among the ‘easter eggs’ were choice phrases like ‘Big Brother is Watching,’ ‘The Masons Were Here,’ ‘This Space for Rent’ and ‘Hi iFixit! We See You!’

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Facebook shipped tens of thousands of controllers for its new Oculus headsets with ‘inappropriate easter eggs’ making light of the company’s privacy disasters

The easter eggs were supposedly meant to be on just the prototype controllers, but ended up making it onto ‘tens of thousands of Touch controllers.’

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

‘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,’ he added.

A Facebook spokesperson told the Verge that the easter eggs were hidden on the Touch controllers for the yet-to-be-released Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest, not the original Oculus Touch controllers that shipped in 2016. 

The Rift S and Quest headsets are slated to launch in the coming weeks. 

However, it seems Oculus noticed the easter eggs had been incorporated into the consumer hardware before it could remove them. 

No devices with the messages have been purchased yet. 

The easter egg messages are located on the ‘flex’ portion of the Touch controllers, Business Insider reported.  

The easter eggs were hidden on the Touch controllers for the yet-to-be-released Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest (pictured), not the original Oculus Touch controllers that shipped in 2016

‘To be clear, no devices have been sold with these messages yet, since Quest and Rift S have not yet shipped,’ Johanna Peace, an Oculus representative, told Business Insider. 

‘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.

‘We think it’s important to be transparent with our community and take responsibility when there’s an error,’ she added. 

However, many pointed out that even though the company is being upfront about the issue, shipping thousands of devices with jokes about privacy doesn’t help Facebook’s already tarnished image. 

FACEBOOK’S PRIVACY DISASTERS

December 2018: Facebook comes under fire after a bombshell report discovered the firm allowed over 150 companies, including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data, such as private messages.

Some of these ‘partners’ had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread. 

It also allowed Microsoft’s search engine, known as Bing, to see the name of all Facebook users’ friends without their consent.

Amazon was allowed to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could view streams of friends’ posts.

As of last year, Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon could all obtain users’ email addresses through their friends.

September 2018: Facebook disclosed that it had been hit by its worst ever data breach, affecting 50 million users – including those of Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Attackers exploited the site’s ‘View As’ feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other users.  

Facebook says it has found no evidence ‘so far’ that hackers broke into third-party apps after a data breach exposed 50 million users (stock image)  

The unknown attackers took advantage of a feature in the code called ‘Access Tokens,’ to take over people’s accounts, potentially giving hackers access to private messages, photos and posts – although Facebook said there was no evidence that had been done. 

The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems.

Facebook said it doesn’t yet know if information from the affected accounts has been misused or accessed, and is working with the FBI to conduct further investigations.

However, Mark Zuckerberg assured users that passwords and credit card information was not accessed.

As a result of the breach, the firm logged roughly 90 million people out of their accounts earlier today as a security measure.

March 2018: Facebook made headlines earlier this year after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.

The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the company’s privacy practices across the world, and fueled a ‘#deleteFacebook’ movement among consumers.

Communications firm Cambridge Analytica had offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.

The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.

‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.

The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.

The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump

This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.

This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.

The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.

This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.

It has also suffered several previous issues.

In 2013, Facebook disclosed a software flaw that exposed 6 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses to unauthorized viewers for a year, while a technical glitch in 2008 revealed confidential birth-dates on 80 million Facebook users’ profiles.  

Read more:

  • Nate Mitchell on Twitter: "Unfortunately, some “easter egg” labels meant for prototypes accidentally made it onto the internal hardware for tens of thousands of Touch controllers. [1/3]"
  • Oculus says ‘tens of thousands’ of new controllers include secret messages – The Verge
  • Facebook includes weird messages inside Oculus Touch controllers – Business Insider

Facebook ships Oculus Touch controllers with labels like ‘Big Brother is Watching’

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