Wong has built a reputation for always being right. Journalists cite her work in articles, crediting her scoops. “Initially, people would question, ‘Who is she? How does she have this information?’” she says. “But I built trust over time. You have to prove your information is valid.”
It’s gotten to the point where companies create Easter eggs for her to find. Newton says many have given up on trying to hide their code and simply play along. “There have even been cases where developers will put a ‘Hi, Jane’–style message in their code,” he says. “They know she’s coming.”
Wong’s work brings attention to the oft-ignored research and development parts of companies, which can be a PR win. Coders at Meta love her so much that they’ve created an internal Jane Manchun Wong fan club, which counts among its members Andrew Bosworth, the company’s CTO. “We value her contributions and feedback that help improve our products,” a Meta spokesperson says.
But even if they know she’s coming, that doesn’t mean they always welcome her. Showmanship and surprise are key elements of maintaining the aura that surrounds a tech launch or feature reveal—and Wong has blasted through these secrets, breaking tech companies’ carefully constructed walls. With one tweet, she effectively destroys any buildup or narrative they have about a feature.
This is precisely why, in fact, Wong says she tweets out features before they go public. To her, the secrecy and subsequent hype are problematic. Apps are used by people; shouldn’t those people know what updates and products are being worked on behind the scenes?
It’s not hard to imagine that companies might be disgruntled about a social media celebrity unceremoniously spilling their secrets on Twitter. And as a 20-something Asian woman posting a steady stream of bombshells about tech companies on Twitter, Wong is a prime target for the type of harassment and trolling that can break even the strongest of humans. “I wish more people realized I’m a person,” she says. “I’m more than a machine.”