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Did China reroute Facebook traffic?

Some traffic heading to Facebook earlier this week ended up going out through China. Was it intentional or not?

Some traffic heading to Facebook earlier this week ended up going out through China. Barrett Lyon, an entrepreneur and network security expert who blogged about the incident on Tuesday, suggested it was merely an accident. But Rodney Joffe, senior technologist at DNS (Domain Name System) registry Neustar, disagrees and described it as "route hijacking."

"It's real. It is happening. It can't be described as an 'accident' anymore," Joffe, who observed similar traffic snafus involving China last year, said in an e-mail to CNET today.

Here's what happened, according to Lyon's post:

"Quietly this morning customers of AT&T browsing Facebook did so by way of China then Korea. Typically, AT&T customers' data would have routed over the AT&T network directly to Facebook's network provider, but due to a routing mistake their private data went first to Chinanet then via Chinanet to SK Broadband in South Korea, then to Facebook. This means that anything you looked at via Facebook without encryption was exposed to anyone operating Chinanet, which has a very suspect modus operandi."

Current hardware partners will not be affected by the decision. Motorola just launched the first Honeycomb tablet, the Xoom, in the US; and Samsung, Dell, HTC and Acer are expected to follow suit with tablets of their own.

For more on this story, read Facebook detour through China: Accident or not? on CNET News.