Friday, September 24, 2010

Facebook is down. No, it's up. Yes, it's down again.

Facebook is having some awkward moments today. First it wasn't responding at all. Then it returned, but a lot of functions--like, say, updating your status--didn't work. Now it's down again, throwing off "DNS" errors (meaning it's dropped off the Domain Name System map that lets you connect to a Web server by typing an address like facebook.com instead of typing a numerical IP address).

Sites that use the social network's "social plugin" feature to show who's recommended a page with a click of a Facebook "Like" button are also showing DNS-error messages in place of the usual "X friends liked this page" badge--why, look, there was one right below.

I trust you all can find other things to do online while the company works these things out.

(Sorry, I don't have anything more profound to say. Maybe I will if these hiccups go on for more than a few hours or if the explanation turns out to be particularly hilarious--although by then I'll have editors asking why I haven't filed my column.)

(Abbreviated disclaimer: Post CEO Don Graham on Facebook board, the Post markets self on Facebook.)

In the meantime, please share your own theory of what sent Facebook offline in the comments.

Update, 9:08 p.m. Facebook's engineering page now has a note apologizing for and explaining the outage. It blames "an unfortunate handling of an error condition" in which an "automated system for verifying configuration values ended up causing much more damage than it fixed." The only way to fix it was--you guessed it--turning off the entire site and then slowly bringing it back online.

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