Jan. 31, 2011 at 3:49 PM ET
Dylan Zéroosiix's little brother is apparently un petit jerk on Faceboook — so much so that on the French version of the social networking site, his IM insults are listed as one of the reasons provided under the "report/block this person" button, right up there with "false profile" and "inappropriate photo."
Either that or pranksters hacked the French version of Facebook to add "le petit frère de Dylan Zéroosiix" (translation: "Dylan Zéroosiix's little brother insulted me in instant messenger") to the "report/block" prompt menu.
Alas, as delightful as it is to imagine someone's bratty sibling running amok on the social network, it's a hack — the product of Facebook's laissez-faire monitoring of its open-sourced translation system.
Hacking, in fact, may be a bit strong for what likely happened here — gaming the translation system is more accurate. In countries where English is not the predominate language, Facebook allows users to translate content and "vote" for the most accurate translation.
This works if everyone agrees to be a grownup about it. Get enough people to vote for something less accurate, and viola! "Dylan Zéroosiix's little brother insulted me in instant messenger."
When it comes to Facebook's crowd-sourced translation, Dylan Zéroosiix's little brother is just the latest example. Last summer, instead of logging on and seeing "Today is the birthday of ..." Facebook users in Spain were greeted instead by the unasterisked "F*ck you b*tches."
Before that, the Turkish translation for "Your message could not be sent because the user is offline," read as "Your message could not be sent because of your tiny penis."
Remember, this is the Internet, y'all, where users united to get "Justin Bieber Syphilis" to rise to the top of Google search trends. Pranks will happen.
Lately, a lot of Internet pranks have been popping up on Facebook. Hackers recently hit the fan pages of both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and French President Nicolas Sarkozys. Then there was the mystery ghost friend "Roy Castillo" who floated around in random newsfeeds last week, leaving victims unable to block or unfriend him.
In those cases, it's simple a matter of shutting down the bug that hackers exploited to gain entrance to the code. But as long as Facebook is willing to trust crowd-sourced translations, hilarity will ensue.
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