Facebook acknowledges access problems

Some members of the social network claim to have been unable to access their accounts for several days now; it's a database problem, Facebook says.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Facebook acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon the presence of an internal glitch that left some members with their accounts inaccessible.

"We are currently experiencing a technical issue with one of our databases that is resulting in an extended period of maintenance for some users," a statement e-mailed to CNET News by Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich read. "We are working on a fix now and hope to have this resolved in the next 24 hours."

The member complaints, according to reader e-mails sent to CNET News and comments posted to recent (unrelated) entries on Facebook's company blog, detail an issue in which accounts were rendered inaccessible and replaced by alerts that they were down for maintenance.

Some comments reached levels of borderline hysteria, along the lines of "My original page has been locked since 10/2/09 due to 'site maintenance'. I have contacted FB numerous times and done everything that I have been instructed to do on the site maintenance site...to no avail. PLEASE FB HELP ME."

The "down for maintenance" message is a notice that many of Facebook's 300-million-plus members have seen at one point or another, but in this instance it stuck around for as long as three days, leaving some affected users fearful their accounts had been deleted altogether.

With Facebook acknowledging the problem as a database issue, that likely rules out a malicious activity like the one this summer that saw parts of the site temporarily crippled by a denial-of-service attack.