There is a page on Facebook that purposefully tries to activate glitches in the social networking site’s code that the page owner has discovered. TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis originally thought that the man behind the page was former Facebook employee Evan Priestly, but she has since discovered that this is the work of Laimonas Zakas from Greece.
If you look on the Glitchr Facebook page, you’ll see all sorts of errors ranging from multiple Facebook navigation bars appearing in cascades, to random characters streaking across comments and obscuring images.
So what exactly is it that he does? According to Tsotsis: “Zakas essentially “paints” with Unicode, combining its non-character entities to break layout engines”. When it comes to writing code I’m very much in the dark, so if you’ll pardon the pun, it’s all Greek to me.
Zakas himself has said: “These symbols, intruding up and down, are made by combining lots of diacritical marks… You can see the variety of them here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diacritic. Yes, it’s a kind of art. There’s quite a lot of artists who use the Internet or specific social networks as their canvas.”
You might think that this sort of social networking graffiti might incur the anger of Facebook’s programmers, but Zakas thinks that they find his page useful for detecting bugs. At Facebook HQ alone he has at least 10 employees who are fans of his page, not to mention the others from international departments. To back up his point about them using his page as a task-list of sorts, a number of the bugs he has used in his previous posts have now been fixed.
To be honest I don’t understand what he’s doing, but as with a lot of art, that is part of the allure. If you want to see what I’m talking about then the Glitchr Facebook page is perfectly safe to go on and ‘Like’, so follow any of the links in this blog post.