Facebook becomes Facedown

Summary:Updated throughout: Facebook has been inaccessible this morning, giving a wake up call to those who have become addicted to the service. Call it Facedown.

Updated throughout: Facebook has been inaccessible this morning, giving a wake up call to those who have become addicted to the service. Call it Facedown. Imagine if this were your mobile phone service. The lesson is not to put all your eggs in one basket. In the case of Facebook, you are hoping the company has a robust backup plan. Still waiting to hear what is happening to bring the service down.

A company spokeswoman explained the outage. In a statement emailed to ZDNet she said:

This morning, we temporarily took down the Facebook site to fix a bug we identified earlier today. This was not the result of a security breach. Specifically, the bug caused some third party proxy servers to cache otherwise inaccessible content. The result was that an isolated group of users could see some pages that were not intended for them. The site has now been restored and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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That statement came a bit late though. Facebook reports from bloggers surfaced throughout the day and raised the security issue.

Kavita Kamani, a Microsoft employee, writes:

So, a bunch of us here at work are on facebook. I logged in this morning, and it logged in fine. Then I got an email from a Microsoft employee I dont know and she said facebook seems to be logging her in as me! Next thing I know, I was logged out, facebook has someone else's email id in the login field - anyway, I fixed it and logged in with my credentials and I was logged in as a 3rd person rather than me. I dont know what's up with it, but something big's messed up! With all the personal information people have on facebook, this really sucks.

Matt Dibb gets to the real question: Was Facebook hacked?

Earlier on today I was getting some trouble connecting to Facebook’s login page - after trying to log in the connection just kept timing out instead of taking me to my home page like it usually does. Its pretty unusual for Facebook as its usually pretty reliable. But, these things do happen from time to time so I thought nothing of it.

A couple of hours later I came back to my computer after finishing up some work elsewhere and tried logging in again (I’m not addicted - I can stop any time I want…!). To my surprise my login details - usually stored and prefilled by Firefox - had gone and were replaced by an unfamiliar email address. I was certain that I had locked my computer before I left it (good habit to get into…), but it wasn’t beyond the realms of reality that I had forgotten and someone took the chance to log into Facebook. Unlikely - but certainly not impossible.

So I cleared the cookie and went back to Facebook again to log in. But now the Facebook page was showing me a completely different email address.

News.com's Caroline McCarthy reports that Facebook's outage may be an upgrade. In either case, Facebook should get in front of these issues and be more clear when there's an outage.

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Topics: Data Management, Social Enterprise

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