Facebook’s Torch Device Contains Inappropriate Messages; Company Takes Full Responsibility

Facebook’s Torch Device Contains Inappropriate Messages; Company Takes Full Responsibility
Credit: Pixabay

Facebook has been criticized for a lot of things, particularly how it has handled privacy-related issues. This time, the US-based social media giant has been accused of another major slip-up.

It had accidentally embedded strange and inappropriate messages in thousands of Torch VR controllers manufactured by the company.

This was admitted by no less than Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Oculus, the VR-company owned by Facebook.

He said Oculus had unintentionally placed messages such as ‘The Masons Were Here’ and ‘Big Brother Is Watching’ in its Touch controllers. These are handheld devices used for playing games, particularly in navigating the world of VR.

Mitchell explained that these inappropriate messages were only meant for prototypes but were inadvertently integrated into the final products.

In particular, these messages were made for Torch software creators. Although the devices should not contain these messages, Mitchell said Facebook would not recall the affected units, reported Business Insider.

According to the Oculus co-founder, the messages were actually intended as “Easter eggs” for the prototypes. For instance, “Hi iFixit! We See You’ targeted non-consumer devices. iFixit is a technology company which deconstructs gadgets in public and uploads photos of their work online.

Mitchell said he appreciates these so-called Easter eggs but believes that they should have been taken down.

He stressed that despite the presence of the inappropriate messages, the integrity of the devices was not compromised. He also committed that this kind of oversight will not happen again.

Meanwhile, Johanna Peace, Facebook representative, disclosed that none of the Torch devices have been shipped out.

She, however, clarified that units which carry the inappropriate messages will still be sold. She said that the company practices transparency in business and take full responsibility for its actions.

In all probability, most users who’ll be purchasing the Torch controllers will not be able to view the inappropriate messages.

But this is still considered a major gaffe for Facebook which has been struggling for years to address privacy concerns. It is unfortunate the lapse happened at a time when the company is trying to help mainstream virtual reality.

Meanwhile, Oculus is preparing for the roll out its latest virtual reality products. These include the Oculus Quest VR system which will retail at $399 and the same-priced Oculus Rift S.

Although these devices are meant for different audiences, they contain the same inappropriate messages, according to Tech Crunch.

The issue might actually sound funny, especially for buyers who are interested to purchase the Torch devices. On the other hand, the situation puts Facebook in a somewhat embarrassing situation.

Nevertheless, there are those who believe these inappropriate messages will not affect users in any meaningful way.