Facebook Accidentally Shuts Down Innocent Apps in Sweep for Malicious Programs

facebook-security-4On Tuesday, Facebook accidentally disabled a number of apps for several hours during a sweep for malware. Today, Facebook issued an apology for the temporary outage.

“The Facebook Platform and our users are constantly under attack from malicious apps and we have many automated systems to protect the platform and our users,” wrote the site. “Occasionally we detect an attack that requires us to augment those automated systems. Specifically, we identify a malicious pattern, find all the apps that match that pattern, and then disable those apps.”

The site went on to say that they implemented a broad pattern to find these apps, and that they accidentally swept up a number of harmless apps in the process. Facebook then promised that, moving forward, they would be both more careful to identify malicious apps and quicker to solve any issues that arise during the “recovery process” from system errors.

While this temporary app outage was undoubtedly bad for some businesses on the site, Facebook should still be commended for sweeping up malware in the first place. It was a costly mistake to make, but the site’s heart was in the right place, and Facebook’s openness about their security flub is encouraging.

Also see:

How to Protect Your Facebook Account from Rogue Applications