You probably didn’t notice it, but for a short period yesterday afternoon Facebook took out the entire internet. A temporary glitch caused anyone who tried to visit a third party website integrated with the social media site to be redirected back to Facebook.com, where a message popped up saying “An error occurred. Please try again later”.
The bug affected thousands of sites that employ some kind of Facebook integration, driving traffic away from them, reports AllThingsD. Naturally, more than a few users were a bit perplexed over the problem, with some taking to Twitter to voice their complaints.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just him, as millions of people experienced exactly the same problems, trying to log into sites ranging from the Huffington Post to NBC and CNN. The error message showed an “okay” button as well, but clicking this failed to resolve the issue, directing users to another blank page, while users who hit the back button also did so in vain, as this also just returned them to the error screen. The only way to resolve the problem was by logging out of Facebook.
To its credit, Facebook quickly noticed that something was amiss, and corrected the error within 10-15 minutes of it first appearing. It followed up with a statement to The Next Web admitting the problem:
“For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people logging in with Facebook from third party sites to Facebook.com. The issue was quickly resolved, and Login with Facebook is now working as usual,” said a spokesperson.
Facebook went on to explain that the problem was due to its prized Facebook Connect feature that links the social media site to other websites, and allows them to log in using their Facebook accounts, rather than signing up for an account with each individual site. For Facebook, the main benefit is that it becomes party to all of your data and activity on the third-party website.
This is the first time there has been an issue this widespread with Facebook Connect, but it does give us reason for concern, mainly due to the huge number of sites that are now integrated with the social media site. If a simple plugin can make all of these sites inaccessible, what other problems could it lead to in future?