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Does Facebook Know Your Cell Phone’s Secret Name?

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

According to this little story making its way around Facebook, if you type in the last three digits of your cell phone number into a Facebook comment, Facebook will tell you the secret name of your phone.  Sounds suspicious, doesn’t it?  Well, I was suspicious … but as it turns out, it works, it’s safe – and it’s kind of cool.


To be fair, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to repost random things on Facebook.  I hate to break this to you, but Facebook is not safe – you can be spammed, you can accidentally give other people access to your account and you shouldn’t believe everything you read on Facebook anyway.  So, if someone says, “Hey, repost this video about the girl whose father saw her doing something naughty,” don’t click on it — you’re being scammed.

So when I saw this appear in my Facebook feed, I was doubtful to say the least.  What kind of scam was it this time?  BUT – as I looked through the comments, sure enough, people were getting random names returned if they typed in the sequence correctly.  You have to do it just like it appears in the yellow box above:  @[xxx:0]  (With the x’s being the last three digits of your phone number.  The ‘0’ is a zero.  If you use parentheses ( ) instead of brackets [ ], or if you use a period instead of a colon, it won’t work.)

So I wanted to see what the dealio was, and sure enough – it works.  I figured I’d type in my code and then just delete it when I was done.  When I typed in the code, inserting my last three digits, I hit ‘enter.’  At first it just posted the code, but as I watched, the number turned into a name suddenly:  Alexandra C. Wood.

My cell phone's a woman? (


So how does this voodoo work?  Well, the truth is, it has nothing to do with your phone.  The folks at explain:

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 that corresponding Facebook user/page. For example, typing in @[444:0] reveals the name of Facebook user with the ID number 444. The ID number, obviously, is not limited to 3 digits. For example typing in @[107149055980624:0] will bring up our page, since our pages unique ID is 107149055980624.

So, there’s actually someone out there on Facebook named Alexandra C. Wood, and apparently she was one of the first 1,000 people on Facebook.  I won’t tell you what the last three numbers of my cell phone are – I’m still too paranoid to do that – but it’s pretty cool to watch it in action.  It’s kind of like figuring out your porn star name.   If you want to try it out, head to our Facebook page and feel free to test it in the comments section of this post.

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