Facebook has admitted it accidentally shipped tens of thousands of Oculus Touch controllers with “inappropriate” hidden messages inside them.
The controllers, which are designed for use with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, allow users to manipulate objects in a virtual environment.
Some of the messages, which are reportedly inscribed on the controllers’ internal hardware components, appear to mock Facebook privacy concerns.
They include phrases like “This Space For Rent,” “The Masons Were Here,” “Big Brother is Watching” and “Hi iFixit! We See You!”
iFixit is an electronics repair company that is well known for its “teardowns” of consumer devices, which involve disassembling a product to identify its component parts.
Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Facebook-owned Oculus, said the hidden labels were only meant to be included on prototype models, but accidentally made it onto production hardware.
“While I appreciate easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed,” he said in a Twitter post.
“The integrity and functionality of the hardware were not compromised, and we’ve fixed our process so this won’t happen again.”
This sort of hidden “feature” is known in the tech industry as an easter egg, because it’s there for techies to hunt down and cheer about when found.
They are more commonly jokes written into the software code, rather than physically printed on the hardware. Google, for example, is famous for including easter eggs in its search results.
Of course, now that this one is known about, people receiving their new Oculus Touch controllers may be more tempted to prise them open and see if there’s anything written inside.
It’s even been suggested that any devices that do contain a hidden messages could fetch well-above-retail prices on online auction sites.
It should be noted that Oculus Touch controllers are not designed to be taken apart, so you shouldn’t start cracking them open unless you’re confident you can reassemble them.