Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

In One Fell Swoop, Facebook Glitch Deep-Sixes the Web

ErrorWindow

Now we may know how powerful Facebook really is.

On Thursday, many major websites were taken down by an error that stemmed from Facebook, as Internet mainstays like MSNBC.com, CNN, Yelp and New York Magazine all sent users to redirect pages almost immediately upon loading.

Upon visiting the sites, users were redirected to an error page inside of the Facebook website, which seems to suggest that the error lies in Facebook Connect, the software platform that snakes Facebook’s reach throughout the entire backbone of the Internet. Connect is seen on many third-party-publisher websites in the form of the “Like” button — especially BuzzFeed, the viral news site which relies primarily on social media to spread throughout the Web.

Update 5:00 pm PT: A Facebook spokesperson told AllThingsD the following: “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.”

Which is true — the previously affected sites are now loading normally.

Still, it’s an unpleasant reminder that many of the most popular sites on the Web can be felled by something as faulty as a “bug” in Facebook’s code. Yikes.

If you weren’t online at the time, here’s an example video of the error occurring, below:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik