A glitch on Thursday rerouted an untold number of requests from third-party sites directly to an error page on Facebook.com.
The whole debacle apparently stemmed from a problem with Facebook Connect, the feature that allows you to instantly "like" or re-post content from non-Facebook sites. If you happened to be logged into Facebook, and you attempted to click on any site that uses Facebook Connect – the Huffington Post, for instance, or Gawker – you were redirected to Facebook.com, and politely told to "try again later."
"For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people logging in with Facebook from third-party sites to Facebook.com," a company representative told All Things D. "The issue was quickly resolved, and Login with Facebook is now working as usual.”
So the bug is fixed. But over at VentureBeat, Ricardo Bilton suggests that we not immediately forget about the underlying issues.
"What are we sacrificing when we integrate our websites and log-in systems with a single external site that’s as large and uncompromising as Facebook?" Bilton wonders. The glitch, he adds, "shows just how far the social network tentacles stretch into the workings of completely disparate websites. And when an octopus that large starts having problems, so, too, do the millions of people who rely on it."
Adam Clark Estes of the Atlantic Wire puts things even more plainly.
"There are few corners [of the Web that Facebook] does not touch, and if you don't use Facebook you should be fine," he writes. "But if you do, whether you read your News Feed or not, Facebook can ruin your Thursday night of Internet surfing any time it wants."