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Why Did Facebook Hire the Sony PS3 Hacker?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    George Hotz

    Facebook has hired 21-year-old hacker George Hotz, also known by the handle GeoHot, as a software engineer.

    Facebook confirmed that Hotz was hired in May, ReadWriteWeb reported. In 2008, Hotz created a program so iPhone users could modify their devices to run on any carrier and earlier this year released instructions that allowed "Sony PlayStation 3 owners to modify their game consoles to run unauthorized applications and pirated games," according to the Wall Street Journal.

    After some legal wrangling, Sony reached a settlement with Hotz on March 31, and about five weeks later -- on May 9 -- he started work at Facebook. On June 22, he posted on his Facebook profile, "Facebook is really an amazing place to work ... first hackathon over." (Facebook's hackathons refer to all-night coding or project building.)

    In coding circles, hacking isn't necessarily a bad thing because it means that a programmer knows a system well enough to manipulate it. Obviously Facebook, which displays a sign with the word "hack" in huge letters at the entrance of its offices, has no problem with Hotz's past. And Hotz, with expertise in both hacking iPhones and game systems may prove valuable when creating Facebook applications.