Social networking site Facebook was offline for half an hour yesterday due to an error by a software engineer at the company as reported by the BBC. The engineer accidentally put internal prototype pages online, including a revamped photos section and new page management features, and the entire website had to be taken offline while the mess was cleaned up.
In a statement on its blog, Facebook said "For a brief period of time, some internal prototypes were made public to a number of people externally." read the message. "As a result, we took the site down for a few minutes. It's back up, and we apologise for the inconvenience."
Some people got a brief look at the new features, which are not yet ready for launch. One is called "memories" and indexes what people do on Facebook chronologically.
ReadWriteWeb published a list of five things that people could do during the outage, such as using instant messaging instead, using the telephone to call people or reading a book.
On Twitter, one widely circulated tweet said "Facebook is down. Half the world population had suddenly become productive. The other half of the population is using Twitter."
This is a mildly embarrasing accident for Facebook but it won't do any more harm than leaving one of the company's engineers feeling a bit sheepish for a few days, and it's one of the hazards that comes with running and maintaining such a large website.
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