Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that a new bug has temporarily reset Like counts and comment threads on sites sporting its Like buttons and Comments plugin. Luckily, all the counts and comments should be restored soon as Facebook is finalizing a fix. Everything should go back to normal, though the problem may frighten some regarding how much the Internet relies on a centralized service.
Around 1pm PST today (March 25th), reports came in that some websites, in many cases those without the www URL prefix, had seen counts on their embedded Like buttons nuked. Also, some of these sites that use the Facebook Comments plugin saw comments threads on old pages and posts appear blank as if no comments were ever published. Bug reports were filed on Stack Overflow, some personal blogs include that of Max Woolf reported the issues, and we received several tips about the situation.
As you can see above, a popular TechCrunch article about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding showed zero Likes or comments despite being heavily shared and commented on. After asking Facebook this afternoon whether the user generated content and social sharing popularity scores were actually deleted or just failing to render properly, we’ve just received this statement:
“Earlier today, a display bug made it appear as if the Like counts and comments on some sites had been reset. We are in the process of addressing the issue now, and sites should be displaying the correct number of Likes and comments soon. No Likes or comments were lost. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
The issue follows a more disastrous bug in February that temporarily made websites using Facebook Connect appear broken and inaccessible to people logged in to the social network. Though it was quickly fixed, it was a reminder of just how much the web depends on Facebook these days. Then again, Facebook provides a free, generally reliable commenting and sharing service, and no software is perfect.