Facebook bug disables members' accounts

fb_account_disabled.top.jpg By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney.com) -- A number of Facebook users found themselves abruptly cut off from the site Tuesday, after a glitch in site's system to detect fake accounts inadvertently disabled legitimate ones.

"The bug, which was live for a short period of time, caused a very small percentage of Facebook accounts to be mistakenly disabled," a Facebook spokesman said in a prepared statement. "Upon discovering the bug, we immediately worked to resolve it. It's now been fixed, and we're in the process of reactivating and notifying the people who were affected."

Anecdotal reports suggest that the bug exclusively affected female Facebook users.

Facebook representatives declined to comment on how many of the site's 500 million accounts were affected, or on the specifics of the glitch. Complaints began pouring into Twitter early Tuesday from users denied access. More than a dozen CNNMoney readers reported that their accounts had been deactivated.

Marie Parker in Richmond, Va., was frustrated to find her access blocked Tuesday morning.

"I have had this account well over a year and want to use the social network to keep family/friends updated on the impending birth of my son," she said. "I would really like to get it back."

She tried to contact Facebook but got no response.

Several affected users, including Parker, found their accounts active again Wednesday morning -- but first, many received e-mail notifications that they were being permanently purged. Those e-mails were sent in errror and should be disregarded, a Facebook spokesman said.

Facebook user Sarah Christensen noticed something amiss Tuesday morning when her Android phone prompted her to re-enter her Facebook password. Her log-in attempt failed. Then a friend reached out to ask if Christensen had defriended her on Facebook.

"Worried that it had been somehow compromised, I tried to log in from my PC and received a message telling me the account had been disabled," Christensen said.

Affected users were directed by Facebook to an FAQ page. That link leads to a "disabled account appeal" page, which asks users to upload a government-issued photo ID to prove their identity. That instruction can be ignored, according to Facebook's spokesman.

"People do not need to send us anything," he said. "We've reactivated all of the accounts that were affected and will be notifying the account owners shortly."

At a tech conference Tuesday evening, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the bug is unrelated to the new mail system Facebook launched on Monday.

-CNNMoney reporter Laurie Segall contributed to this report.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,122.01 15.31 0.09%
Nasdaq 4,569.62 -1.02 -0.02%
S&P 500 2,000.12 0.10 0.00%
Treasuries 2.36 -0.03 -1.25%
Data as of 9:37pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.20 -0.13 -0.80%
Apple Inc 102.13 1.24 1.23%
Facebook Inc 74.63 -1.33 -1.75%
Yahoo! Inc 38.18 0.39 1.03%
Pfizer Inc 29.49 0.28 0.96%
Data as of 4:02pm ET

Sections

Companies like Apple, GE, and Microsoft that do business abroad can delay paying U.S. taxes on the billions of dollars they keep offshore -- indefinitely. More

Former Fed chief Ben Bernanke believes the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, topping even the Great Depression. More

Tech fans are already excited about the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 next month. There's now a report suggesting that the iWatch could be coming too. Wall Street is pleased. More

Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.