Facebook accidentally shipped "tens of thousands" of virtual reality (VR) controllers with bizarre hidden messages, including "Big Brother is Watching" and "The Masons Were Here."

Nate Mitchell, the cofounder of Facebook-owned VR organisation Oculus, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the company inadvertently printed some unusual messages inside its Touch controllers, handheld devices for playing games and navigating inside VR.

These messages were intended only for prototypes, he said - but a mistake meant they were included in regular production devices.

"Unfortunately, some 'easter egg' labels meant for prototypes accidentally made it onto the internal hardware for tens of thousands of Touch controllers," the tech executive wrote.

An example of one of the hidden messages.

"The messages on final production hardware say 'This Space For Rent' & 'The Masons Were Here.' A few dev kits shipped with 'Big Brother is Watching' and 'Hi iFixit! We See You!' but those were limited to non-consumer units."

(iFixit is a tech repair company known for publicly deconstructing new gadgets and posting photos of their innards online.)

Mitchell added: "While I appreciate easter eggs, these were inappropriate and should have been removed. The integrity and functionality of the hardware were not compromised, and we've fixed our process so this won't happen again."

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