Facebook glitch temporarily breaks the web

By on February 8, 2013, 11:30 AM

Yesterday, an untold number of Internet surfers experienced a glitch which abruptly redirected them from the sanctuary of their favorite websites to a Facebook error page. Websites essentially taken down by this snafu included Hulu, Lifehacker, Washington Post, ESPN, CNN, NBC, Kickstarter and plenty of others -- basically any site who dares to integrate Facebook Connect.

Facebook Connect is a technology that allows web developers to leverage and integrate certain features (e.g. identification, reposting, likes) of the popular social network into their websites. Needless to say, Facebook Connect is ubiquitous amongst websites of all sizes and topics, indicating that much of the surfable web was essentially, if only temporarily, borked.

I first noticed this bug around 4:00pm PST while visiting one of my frequent web destinations. During that time though, I didn't realize it was actually an issue with Facebook itself. In my case (and probably most others), I was able to skirt the issue by simply signing out of Facebook.

Seemingly related bug was documented on Facebook Developers, indicating the site's Oauth validation routine was temporarily broken.

According to Cnet, Facebook Connect was broken between roughly 4:15 pm and 4:40 pm PST. Cnet also notes that around the time this problem began, Alex Wilhelm from The Next Web tweeted, "Reading article. Dragged from two diff sites to Facebook, which displays what appears to be a permissions error. Wa?"

A Facebook spokesperson issued a statement which acknowledged the issue, stating that the social networking company quickly resolved the issue and Facebook Connect is once again nominal.

Presumably, Facebook will do absolutely everything within its power to prevent another issue of this magnitude; however, the bug does present an opportunity for website owners to step back, big-picture style, and re-evaluate the growing trend of social network integration.

User Comments: 10

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2 people like this | Guest said:

Broke the web, huh? That's possibly the most ignorant sounding headline I've heard in a long time. Isn't this supposed to be a tech savvy publication?

1 person liked this | jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

I agree - - title implies that Facebook IS the Internet :joke:

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Btw:- the bug also highlights the risk of implementing a 3rd party script (aka login via your FB account) into your own website (this is a loss of control for the websites which were broken).

The same kind of thing has occurred (and will occur) for Cloud computing where one of the services gets broken (eg the AWS outages) which takes down something the user is attempting to use.

Guest said:

Well if you were logged into facebook lots of non-facebook web pages were broken so maybe they should have said it broke part of the web only for some people logged into facebook? It's a headline!

Guest said:

You people need to lighten up...life is too short.

1 person liked this |
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Isn't this supposed to be a tech savvy publication?

Yes, which is why our readers are expected to understand the subtext of such headlines... ;-)

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Broke the web, huh? That's possibly the most ignorant sounding headline I've heard in a long time. Isn't this supposed to be a tech savvy publication?
It is possible to break a network without breaking all parts of the network or breaking it for everyone. So yes, I agree with the headline.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I thought the NEW HOMEPAGE was the glitch.

TJGeezer said:

Facebook? You mean that place is still around? (he said hypocritically, all signed in at TS using that weird "F"-ish icon)

jonjonjon said:

That's what happens when Facebook is integrated into very single web site. It's also the perfect example of why I use noscript with all Facebook urls listed as untrusted.

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