Yesterday, the impossible happened. Facebook went down. For a grueling 20 minutes, internet users worldwide went wild as the mainline for digital communication closed its doors.
But what caused the unthinkable to occur? According to Facebook, an itty-bitty mistake at Facebook HQ. During the launch of a new registration product, Facebook accidentally flipped the wrong switch and rolled out a batch of updates not yet intended for the world at large, providing the public with a tasty peak at new things to come from Facebook.
Facebook quickly caught on to the mistake, and shut down its servers for just long enough to rescind the many accidental changes. Lucky for us, a few quick fingers captured screenshots of the new products before Facebook went offline.
The biggest (and most forecasted) change came to the Facebook Fan Page, which seems to have adopted the new look and feel of the Facebook Place and Personal Profile Pages. The New Fan Page design has eliminated the top tab navigation, and has relocated both custom and default Facebook tabs to the new navigation area located beneath the profile picture.
We have a few speculations on the implications of this change. With the upcoming deprecation of Facebook’s FBML and support of developers utilizing iFrames for future custom tabs, Facebook seems to be changing its focus from simple, graphical designs to more complex, whirling and twirling Facebook Applications hosted off of Facebook’s servers.
After the launch of the Facebook Places Pages, many Page administrators who chose to merge their Fan and Place Pages began to complain that they had lost control of their ability to create a default landing tab for non-Fans. Yesterday’s preview demonstrated a similar change, in which the wall tab was the default tab for the New Fan Page.
Facebook released a statement acknowledging and apologizing for the sudden changes, stating:
“While we are always experimenting with new features internally we are not making changes to Pages right now. Organizations invest a lot of time on their Facebook Pages because millions of people find them useful every day. We remain committed to providing ways for Page owners to customize and control the experience on their Page. If we do make changes, we will provide partners with advance notice.”
Another big development for Facebook Fan Pages is the development of the “Switch Accounts” feature for Fan Page administers. It would seem that in the near future, Fan Page admins will be able to login and administer a Fan Page through a Fan Page account. A perk of this change will be the ability to receive Fan Page notifications when your page receives interactions and engagements.
Also unveiled during the mistake were a new Profile Page Memories Tab, which breaks your life on Facebook into an interactive timeline, and an “Outside World” newsfeed filter, which presumably brings trending topics and news items into your Facebook stream.
More to follow on Facebook’s intended release, the User Registration Tool for Websites.