Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Facebook Bug ‘Breaks the Internet’

On Thursday evening, many Facebook users reported difficulties accessing well-known websites. The problem had nothing to do with those sites—rather, a bug in Facebook Connect was redirecting users to Facebook’s home page.

The Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reported, “A Facebook glitch briefly took down a large number of sites that use the social network’s login credentials on Thursday — highlighting just how wide Facebook’s reach has become. The glitch lasted a few minutes and affected only those who were logged into Facebook at the time. But there were widespread reports of users having trouble getting to sites such as Gawker, CNN, Mashable and, yes, The Washington Post. When users tried to visit those sites, they were sent to a Facebook page that displayed an error.”

PCMag’s Chloe Albanesius observed, “Luckily, there was an easy fix — sign out of Facebook. Facebook Connect is the program that allows you to conduct Facebook activities on third-party sites (commenting, liking, etc.). If you’re signed in to Facebook on your browser, and you visit Facebook Connect-enabled sites on that same browser, you’ll be signed in to the social network there as well. Unfortunately, this was not immediately clear to everyone who was seeing those error messages, prompting the ‘Facebook broke the Internet’ complaints.”

PCWorld’s John Ribeiro noted, “The short-duration glitch, however, raised questions about the consequences of tighter integration by websites with Facebook and other services. ‘I suspect many don’t quite grasp the implications of running 3rd party code (i.e Facebook Connect, Google Analytics, etc) on their website,’ said independent researcher Ashkan Soltani in a Twitter message.”

Mashable ran a statement from Facebook, which said, “For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people logging in with Facebook from third party sites. The issue was quickly resolved and Login with Facebook is now working as usual.”

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