Undo! Undo! Red Button Hit, Facebook Scrambles

Spokespeople for Facebook have confirmed that the site was deliberately taken down today for a few minutes while staff undid an accidental early release of several features not yet ready for the public.

Spokespeople for Facebook have confirmed that the site was deliberately taken down today for an unspecified period of time while staff fixed a glitch. We received an email stating:

For a brief period of time, some internal prototypes were made public to a number of people externally. As a result, we took the site down for a few minutes. It’s back up, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

We really admire Facebook’s integrity in responding to situations such as these — plenty of technology companies make the mistake of lying to the public or the media after an outage. It’s so much better to admit to a mistake than fudge a hacking incident that never really happened.

Apparently, the site may have had too many launches happening at the same time, as TechCrunch has reported. A new registration widget went up, some new admin page features got temporarily rolled out and then rescinded, plus a rumored “Memories” feature was temporarily made available and pulled. The latter, when it goes live, will enable people to more easily search through their histories on the site.

We scribes tend to develop B.S. detectors that refine themselves over time, so apologies if the following question sounds like it contradicts our sincere gratitude about Facebook’s honesty regarding what caused the outage.

Readers, did you really experience an outage for only a few minutes? Did you notice sluggish perfomance in the site for a longer period of time than that? Were your “like” buttons disabled for more than just a few minutes?

Special thanks to Brad McCarty for the “red button” idea.