Facebook Outage: Wakeup Call

Facebook, the rapidly growing social networking service, went down this morning, and despite a company statement that it was brought down to fix a bug, I still get this screen at 3 p.m. Pacific:

The company earlier released this statement:

This morning, we temporarily took down the Facebook site to fix a bug we identified earlier today. This was not the result of a security breach. Specifically, the bug caused some third party proxy servers to cache otherwise inaccessible content. The result was that an isolated group of users could see some pages that were not intended for them. The site has now been restored and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Some bloggers had reported they could see other people’s information. The company says it was a bug, not a hack, but clearly it was important enough to take down a site that now has more than 29 million users—serious stuff.

Others, such as The Register, note that the silver lining here is that people had to stop obsessively logging into Facebook and get some real work done. But that’s a little too flip. Facebook is becoming a serious business utility for a lot more people lately—not to mention the platform for a whole raft of new Web applications startups. Whatever the reason for the outage, it’s a wakeup call to users and businesses alike: Don’t entrust all your data, and certainly not your entire business, on any one company, no matter how well it has performed in the past.

Update: Seems to be back up now.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.