Facebook Hijacks Internet Sites For An Hour Thursday Afternoon

Something weird happened to the Web this afternoon - and it's apparently Facebook’s fault.

Websites that use various Facebook integrations were being dragged from their landing pages to the Facebook error page shown above. For instance, if while logged into Facebook you went to a wide variety of sites, including Yahoo News, xoJane.com, SlickDeals.net or many, many other sites, you were redirected after a couple seconds to the error page shown above. Sites such as Gawker, Fox News, The Washington Post and others reportedly were also affected by the mysterious bug.

This is a very big deal. The Facebook connection was not just passively disrupting sites, as Web plugins sometimes do, but actively dragging users away from their destination sites to Facebook’s own platform. 

Developers at Say Media, ReadWrite's parent company, believe that the problem was caused by Facebook Connect having problems with oAuth authentication that allows users to sign into a site using their Facebook profiles. 

The bug affected users for a portion of the afternoon, apparently starting around 4pm Pacific Time. As of 5pm PT, the bug appears to have been fixed.