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.