Platform Bug Kills Growth of Applications

Late last night a number of developers began complaining about a significant decrease in the growth of their applications. After much discussion the developers realized that their application requests that had been sent out to users had been deleted. So what happened? Ari Steinberg, lead platform developer, responded to a bug on Facebook’s bugzilla:

hey, there appears to have been some data loss last night. it seems (ironically) that a script that was supposed to be backing things up and cleaning out old platform requests that were already acted on actually went haywire and instead deleted new requests that were not supposed to have been deleted. 🙁

we are investigating the possibility of data recovery but it’s not yet clear if that will be possible. it’s possible that we may be able to do a partial recovery that would be missing for example all the requests sent yesterday but recovers everything before then. will post updates as i find out. my sincere apologies.

Whoops! Sorry guys, I just made a quick script that went through and deleted all of your application requests! There is no telling how many requests were deleted but it is definitely a significant amount. It takes time for applications to build up their momentum and deleting all of an application’s requests is a huge loss. This was echoed by one of the developers that replied to Ari’s apology:

This has a significant impact on our business. In addition to impacting growth, I am very concerned that the user of experience for people that have our application installed will be negatively impacted by Facebook’s bug.

While I’m sure that this was an accident, late night slipups should be protected from happening. Imagine if Google accidentally deleted their index of websites overnight. While that would never happen to Google, it goes to show how young Facebook truly is. Thanks to Matthew Eustice for pointing out this bug to me!