Facebook Workers Put ‘Big Brother Is Watching’ Inside Oculus Touch Dev Kit

by Ian Hamilton • April 12th, 2019

Oculus founder Nate Mitchell posted three tweets revealing people working on the Oculus Touch controllers buried “easter eggs” inside the housing of “tens of thousands of Touch controllers.”

Here are the tweets:

We confirmed with Facebook the text appeared inside versions of the Oculus Touch controllers for Rift S and Oculus Quest. The text “This Space For Rent” and “The Masons Were Here” appears inside finished units which will ship with the headsets to consumers. Those are the only messages which made it into finished production, according to Facebook.

While the messages are clear attempts at humor, one which appeared inside dev kits states “Big brother is watching,” an obvious reference to global fears about the reach and influence of Facebook’s social platform. Reaction to the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook was swift and strong when it acquired the company in 2014 for roughly $3 billion. It was instantly apparent the social media giant would have access to more personally identifiable information through these headsets.

Current VR headsets include microphones, sensors and cameras to facilitate communication and track head and hand movement. Over time, more VR headsets are likely to watch eye and facial movements too. Facebook’s leaders, for example, hope to create hyper-realistic avatars and transmit body movements anywhere in the world in an effort to “defy distance,” as Facebook defines the mission of its Oculus efforts in VR.

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