IF YOU’RE A Facebook user (and there’s a one-in-eight chance that, as a human being, you are) you may have seen some of your Friends posting a peculiar link in the last few days – pointing out that you can make Mark Zuckerberg’s name appear everywhere.
The comments claim you can type a few characters – specifically, @[4:0] – and make the name of the social networking site’s founder and chief executive appear anywhere you like.
We’ve checked it out – and it’s true! But it’s got nothing to do with Zuckerberg’s special status within the company – in fact, you can make it work for any Facebook user, including your own.
The trick – or perhaps it’s better described as a bug – relates to the way that Facebook ‘tags’ other users when you try to mention them in a post.
If you’re on Facebook and you’re trying to mention your friend John Smith in a comment, Facebook will offer a little pop-up window asking whether you want to insert a link to his profile.
But while you only see the user’s name, and the link will point to their personalised username, the link actually identifies a user by their user number and not their user name.
So, when you type the characters @[4:0] into a comment or status update, what Facebook actually does is try to tag the 4th user to set up a Facebook account, which in this case is Zuckerberg himself.
As it happens, accounts 1, 2 and 3 have been killed off – but account 5 is that of Zuckerberg’s former Harvard room-mate and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, while account 6 is another roommate Dustin Moskovitz.
You can figure out your own user number by looking at the URL of any of your photo albums – the last set of digits after the word ‘set’ is your own. The username for TheJournal.ie‘s page, as it happens, is 137576076262825.
Simply insert these numbers into any tag – like @[137576076262825:0] - and that person, or page, will be automatically tagged in your comment (or, at the very least, have their name appear there).