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Facebook’s f8 conference, a one-day event in San Francisco for software developers and entrepreneurs looking to make money off the social network’s seemingly unstoppable growth, is in full swing right now. But a bunch of people on the Internet have admitted to each other that none of us knows where the name “f8” came from. Nor do we know for sure the correct pronunciation — that is, what they call it at Facebook. Is it “eff ate” or “fate?”

As a reporter whose job description includes looking stupid, I emailed my Facebook PR contact and got this response:

We named it f8 because it is held in the spirit of the 8 hours after your normal work day  when you can work on what you’re truly passionate about and hack into the night. It’s what happens when you’re driven, pioneering new territory, moving fast, and breaking things.

We pronounce it “eff ate”.

Thanks, Facebook, for reminding me of why I sometimes miss being a software developer: It’s one of the few jobs where you get paid to break stuff.

[Photo: Dean Takahashi]


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