Facebook apologises for mass account 'killings'

November 14, 2016 | 10:39

Tags: #glitch #hackers #mark-zuckerberg #social-network #social-networking

Companies: #facebook

Facebook has apologised for an apparent bug in its social networking platform which briefly declared a chunk of its user base - including founder Mark Zuckerberg - as having shuffled off this mortal coil.

In a farce which mirrored a plotline in classic 1995 film Hackers, Facebook's social networking platform suffered a glitch over the weekend which saw accounts being replaced with their 'memorialised' equivalents. Introduced by Facebook for family of deceased members who wish to keep a page visible but inactive following the member's death, accounts shouldn't be switched into memorial mode without manual checking - but, somehow, a swathe of accounts had their status changed over the weekend, including that of most-definitely-still-alive Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

'This was a terrible error that we have now fixed,' a Facebook spokesperson claimed in a brief statement to press on the matter. 'We are very sorry that this happened.'

The company's statement, however, does not detail exactly how the glitch occurred. Its use of 'error' suggests an internal failing of some description, rather than external attack; in Hackers, by contrast, FBI agent Richard Gill has his official bureau record modified by protagonist Dade 'Zero Cool/Crash Override' Murphy to read 'deceased' as part of a campaign of harassment in retaliation for the arrest of a fellow hacker.

Thankfully, the bug appears to have only affected those whose accounts are set up to cede control to a registered third party in the event of the account holder's demise; those whose accounts were set instead to delete themselves upon death have not been affected.
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