Exclusive: Facebook “Bug” or “Hoax” – The Mystery Explained

    January 20, 2012
    Mike Tuttle

Last week, I wrote about a message on Facebook that was being shared around heavily.

In my write-up, I walked through this character string, eliminated the extraneous characters, and posited a theory about what it might be.

In short, this has nothing to do with your phone. The numbers reference individual Facebook accounts and this string returns the name of the person associated with that account. And, they go far beyond 3 digits.

For example, my Facebook account number is: 722324163. Let’s plug that number into the character string as a status and see what happens: @[722324163:0]

Hit “Post”. And we get this:

Simple enough. You get a persons name. And since it is my own account, I get it as a clickable link. If it is not your own, or someone you are Facebook friends with. You get a name, but not linked.

You can have fun playing with other numbers before the colon. One of the more fun names we found was with the single-digit number “4”. Entered as: @[4:0]

Hit “Post”. And we get this:

The lower numbers have consistently returned names of people who attended Harvard in 2004, the earliest Facebook accounts.

Apparently, this thing is still rolling. Mashable reported on it this afternoon.


Mike Tuttle
Writer. Google+ Writer for WebProNews.