As a regular and consistent user of Facebook, I've found it has wormed its way into every facet of my daily life; from communicating with friends and family, to logging into 3rd party websites and web services such as Soundcloud and Flickr. It even powers the contact list on my Windows 8 desktop and Windows Phone.
For the past 3 days, however, I've been unable to access Facebook due to what can only be described as a showstopping bug in their authentication system. I'm also not the only affected user
; for the past week or so, various people across the world have come up against what is alternately reported as either a blank page or an HTTP 500 (Internal Server Error), depending on which browser you're using. Your account remains visible to those on your friends list; they can comment on your statuses/photos, post on your wall etc, and you even continue to receive SMS notifications when they do so. However, when you attempt to log in, you get dropped at a blank page/HTTP error, with no apparent solution available to you.
Due to the fact Facebook essentially don't provide any form of support to their users, many are left completely clueless with how to proceed. Some have attempted to report the issue using friends' and family members' accounts, but none have received word back from Facebook. They seem to either be completely ignoring the issue, or simply keeping their members in the dark. Their Known Issues
page hasn't been updated since the 19th of September, with hundreds of comments on the last post reporting the current issue, along with many others.
If Facebook continue to push for such heavy integration into the lives' of others, they'll need to come up with a way to support people when their service fails them. For any business, such extended periods of downtime are almost unheard of these days, as the loss of customer business would be at risk. Unfortunately for Facebook users, it's widespread ubiquity seems to be providing the company with a level of confidence that is seemingly allowing them to ignore the plight - if their Known Issues page is anything to go by - thousands of their users; and these are only the ones who've found alternative ways of accessing the site, and thought to report the issue.
Perhaps a keen Neowinian living in the United States might be willing to give Facebook a call to get their feedback on this, and the myriad of other issues people seem to be facing. As a resident of the UK myself, sadly that's not an option that's available to me; at least not economically.
If you too have been struck by this bug, the only words of reassurance I can offer you are that you are, at least, not alone. Perhaps it's time for us all to switch to Google+? /s