Tech

The Joy Of Breaking Facebook

Glitchr is a Facebook account entirely devoted to a single cause: destroying Facebook.

One of the reasons Facebook killed MySpace was because it was so much cleaner. MySpace let you change your background, add music and animation, and even execute your own Javascript. In comparison, Facebook was paradise. MySpace was K-Mart on the brink of bankruptcy; Facebook was Ikea.

We’ve gotten used to this level of cleanliness, and now take the rigid borders and ordered structure of Facebook and Twitter for granted. They’re utterly predictable, which is why it’s so much fun when someone finds a tweet that breaks Twitter, and why Glitchr, a Facebook account devoted to collecting posts that break or distort Facebook, is so fucking satisfying.

Forget Facebook. Come over to Faceboo͐ͩͪ̐͌̏̑̚̕͢ ╪..

Via rhizome.org

Glitchr’s tricks range from scripting tricks — seemingly real exploits — to the use of unusual symbols called diacritics. Rhyzome explains:

Diacritics are accent marks used to indicate the type of pronunciation a certain word infers. Diacritics are used in Latin script, but are also specific to other alphabetic systems such as the vowel pointing scripts of the Arabic harakat.

By stacking diacritics and deploying an age-old arsenal of ASCII tricks, Glitchr has found ways to drive wedges into Facebook’s seams, pull them apart, and spill the site’s guts into the open.

In the context of Glitchr’s chaotic page, some of the most technically impressive posts don’t stand out — the one above includes forms, which Facebook users shouldn’t be able to create at all; the one below duplicated my chat list in the newsfeed, which is basically an exploit. It’s a hack, to be sure. Just not a malign one.

Glitchr’s own page is a glorious mess, assuming you can even get it to load. But the account’s true power is only clear when it breaks into newsfeeds. My Facebook feed is predictable to a fault, and its visual uniformity is enough to make me tune out. If someone shares an interesting story, I might well miss it. But a Glitchr post? Not a chance.

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