Oculus executive Nate Mitchell has confirmed that phrases such as "This Space For Rent," "The Masons Were Here," and "Big Brother Is Watching" had been printed on "tens of thousands" of Oculus Touch controllers.
The problem is these Easter eggs were supposed to appear just on prototype units, not consumer and market model, but they "accidentally" ended up being printed on more units than originally intended. Some messages were also included in developer kits for people building software for the product, while others made their way into consumer devices meant for commercial distribution.
The messages can be found on the "flex," an internal component of the controllers.
Oculus Touch Controllers Have Easter Eggs
"While I appreciate Easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed," tweeted Mitchell. He assured that the integrity and functionality of the controllers themselves weren't compromised and that the company has tuned its process to avoid something like this from ever happening again.
Business Insider was the first to report on the tweets. An Oculus spokesperson has since confirmed that in his tweets, Mitchell was referring to the controllers for the upcoming Quest and Rift S virtual reality headsets, not the original ones shipped in 2016. Both headsets are scheduled to come out within the next month. By the time Oculus discovered the messages, it was too late, as they had already been printed into consumer hardware meant for the market.
While it's not a particularly critical issue, having "Big Brother Is Watching" engraved onto a Facebook-owned product is ironic considering the company's current battles on data privacy and surveillance. As for "The Masons Were Here," that could be a reference to the Freemasons, a fraternal organization many conspiracy theorist say has a huge influence on authorities. Facebook is among the platforms that have been criticized for paving the way for agents to spread fake news, conspiracist content, and downright hatred, so it makes sense to some degree.
Even still, Facebook representative Johanna Peace said affected units would not be recalled once they're shipped, which makes plenty of sense seeing as those messages won't affect how the product performs at all.
"We think it's important to be transparent with our community and take responsibility when there's an error," said Peace.