If Facebook leaks everything about their big phone event a week before their big phone event, does Facebook's big phone event need to exist? Since the social network sent out invites Thursday night, no fewer than five reporters, by way of anonymous "sources" that sound awfully familiar, reported exactly the same thing: Facebook will debut special "modified Android" software on an HTC phone. You'll see a Facebook home screen when you turn on the phone, basically. You can read this at The New York TimesTechCrunch9to5Google, or The Wall Street Journal, where Evelyn M. Rusli and Amir Efrati also got these sources to tell them that Facebook "has been working to reach similar arrangements with other device makers." But for now, the long awaited "Facebook phone" is just a new HTC phone that will look like all of the Facebook mobile apps, put together on an Android device.

Despite refusing to say anything on the record before Thursday's big "unveiling," Facebook certainly isn't going for the whole hush-hush, leak-proof reveal pioneered by Steve Jobs at Apple (and then copied by Samsung, obviously). In fact, tech reporters have known about this HTC Facebook phone for years, and now they're getting the early word really early. Which is a bit surprising, considering how many phone makers have upped the sex appeal of their new gadgets by holding their new secrets behind the curtain — or at least waiting until some executive takes a stage. But maybe this is a smart move for Facebook, a novice to partnering with the phone industry that hasn't exactly had the best experience as a publicly traded company and doesn't want to risk spooking investors with too many surprises. Now the Wall Street people already know what to expect. And so far that's working just fine. The analysts think the HTC OS sounds like a decent idea: "A phone, even an Android phone, makes sense," one analyst told Computer World

Plus the last thing Facebook needs is for its rumor economy to turn against it.