snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Computers

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08 February 2012, 03:14 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Computer Origin? "Your cell phone has a name"

This showed up on my facebook newsfeed tonight:

Quote:
Your Cell Phone has a name! Take the last three digits of your number (example ***-***-*618). Type it like this: @[618:0] in the comments below and hit enter. It's [sic] name will appear!
It does actually work, in that, if you enter a three digit number that does not begin with 0, a name is generated. The name is consistent to the number; that is, it's the same name every time you enter the same sequence of numbers. 4-digit numbers work too, but 5- and 6- digit numbers don't seem to work.

I found this explanation here
Quote:
"This Is Not True...What Is Actually Occurring Is Some "Shorthand" Facebook Code...Every Facebook User And Page Are Assigned A Unique ID Number...When That ID Number Is Typed Into A Comment Box Along With The Symbols Described In The Message It Displays The Name Of A Real Corresponding Facebook User/Page...For Example, Typing In Christopher Hanley Reveals The Name Of A Facebook User With The ID Number 444...The ID Number Obviously Is Not Limited To 3 Digits (The 3 Digit Codes Belong To The Very First FB Users)... For Example Typing In ThatsNonsense.com Will Bring Up A FB Page Belonging To A Newer FB User...Since Our Pages Have Unique ID is 107149055980624...."
but that doesn't seem to adequately explain it either.

Any ideas of its origin, and why seemingly random sequences of numbers generate names in the fb comment box?

Found another explanation here. Looks like that might be the real explanation. Except, working backwards, when I entered some of the more unusual names, I got no hits for profiles. They might be closed profiles, I guess.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08 February 2012, 07:24 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,058
Default

The two explanations you linked are the same, and it seems a perfectly reasonable one to me.

Of course, since there are more than 1000 phones in the world, I don't see why anybody would think the last 3 digits of a phone number somehow uniquely identified the phone in the first place...

(eta) If the users set up Facebook accounts soon enough to have a 3-digit ID number, the chances are that some of them would be test accounts or ones that aren't otherwise used any more.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08 February 2012, 07:43 AM
Em's Avatar
Em Em is offline
 
Join Date: 11 July 2005
Location: Waikiki, Western Australia
Posts: 2,948
Default

Why doesn't the explanation make sense?

Think of the contacts in your phone. You can look someone up by name or you can type in their number and it'll display the name. That sounds like what's going on here, only with unique IDs rather than phone numbers.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08 February 2012, 10:46 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Default

I thought it didn't make sense because all of the 5- and 6-digit numbers I tried came up with a '0'. I guess it's possible that all of the random numbers I tried don't have corresponding current users, or that they don't use 5- and 6-digit ID numbers.

The other thing that puzzled me was the variety of nationalities represented by the 3-digit numbers. If the people with lower numbers are original subscribers, they represent a really diverse group ethnically. I thought that most of the first subscribers were Zuckerberg's college classmates from the US.

I know that I may be over thinking this, but it's an interesting little puzzle.

ETA: at no time did I think the names had anything to do with cell phones or sim cards!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08 February 2012, 12:20 PM
Jaime Vargas Jaime Vargas is offline
 
Join Date: 12 September 2001
Location: Sevilla, Spain
Posts: 6,937
Default

That would be *if* all the original subscribers have not signed out and ID numbers are not reused.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08 February 2012, 09:28 PM
Kev's Avatar
Kev Kev is offline
 
Join Date: 17 February 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 2,487
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
The other thing that puzzled me was the variety of nationalities represented by the 3-digit numbers. If the people with lower numbers are original subscribers, they represent a really diverse group ethnically. I thought that most of the first subscribers were Zuckerberg's college classmates from the US.
The US does have ethnic diversity and major U.S. universities also tend to have a decent population of international students as well.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08 February 2012, 10:36 PM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 19,637
Default

Yeah, college towns and major cities (didn't Zuckerberg go to Harvard?) tend to have a higher proportion of ethnic diversity than the rest of the US. Out of 20 students in my community college biology class, literally half of them (and the teacher) were from other countries. My college and university had a high population of international students.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 21 May 2012, 05:41 PM
aanker
 
Posts: n/a
Default RE: Origin? "Your cell phone has a name"

May be of interest:
The Origin of this trick is an interesting story and if you can tolerate the poor sound, this person does a good job explaining how it works:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y87lnVE8z6g
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23 May 2012, 02:45 AM
missy_pooh_1997's Avatar
missy_pooh_1997 missy_pooh_1997 is offline
 
Join Date: 30 September 2005
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,273
Default

We did this about 6 months ago on FB. There is a logical explanation, but its still super weird.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23 May 2012, 03:33 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 19,249
Icon204

Moskovitz, Hasit, Laverdet, Soleio, Putnam, McCollum, Kaganovich, Boros, Aguilar, Bercu, Samyr, Kang-Xing, Colin (hey, 2 Colins!), Jakus, Alana...

Damn, that Zuckerberg had a lot of farn sounding friends for a whitebread suburban boy. [/sarcasm]
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23 May 2012, 03:33 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 19,761
Default

Semi-hijack:

Who read the topic title and then sang, "It's O-S-C-A-R"?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03 June 2012, 08:33 PM
TrishDaDish's Avatar
TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
Join Date: 22 February 2004
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Posts: 7,662
Default

I didn't. Until now. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Time traveler" using cell phone in Chaplin film TrishDaDish Fauxtography 153 15 April 2013 04:48 AM
Men think they have found true origin of "Dogtown" name snopes Language 1 20 October 2007 01:08 AM
Origin of "the easy way" and "the hard way" robbiev Language 12 26 September 2007 05:21 AM
Origin of "hir" - gender neutral pronoun? Buckle Up Language 56 08 September 2007 07:22 AM
Stallone's "Rocky" Origin is a Studio Myth snopes Entertainment 3 20 June 2007 02:21 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.