For about three hours this morning, my Facebook newsfeed represented a bizarre outburst of showbiz interaction, as a peculiar bug on the site allowed messages posted to celebrities to appear on everybody’s feed.
I first thought something was awry when I saw a jokey (and somewhat rude, hence the censoring) message someone appeared to have posted to the band The Ramones.
That seemed odd. Had I joined an open Ramones Facebook group at some time and was what I was seeing a post made within that group, or was I seeing a message someone was sending to the band (many of whom are now dead, as it happens), even though I didn’t know the person posting it?
Scrolling down revealed it was likely to be the latter, as I saw messages posted to Nirvana, Radiohead and Joy Division on my feed as well.
The bug only appeared to affect desktop Facebook users. On my phone, everything seemed perfectly normal.
By all accounts, one of the biggest victims of this tomfoolery was rapper Eminem. In my case, it definitely seemed to be Nirvana and Radiohead, which are probably the two most popular bands I follow. I don’t follow any showbiz personalities on Facebook, but other users report seeing examples of interactions with actors, presenters and other celebs.
Most of it was just funny memes and other mischief, including some people enjoying a joke about the situation itself, like this one on the Smashing Pumpkins page.
Some quick-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs got onto it too though, realising that this could be their chance to get themselves seen by pages with millions of followers. As the morning went on, I started to see restaurant deals appearing, and one or two web developers broadcasting sites they were working on to a far bigger audiences than they could have imagined.
The glitch reportedly began at around 6:40am UK time, so it was primarily users in Australia and New Zealand who first cottoned on to the madness during their afternoon and early evening, before early-rising Brits and Europeans got involved. By 10:00 am, everything seemed to be back to normal, so Facebook can probably count itself lucky that most people in the US, Canada and notoriously Facebook-mad Brazil will have slept through it.
The fact that it only lasted a few hours means it’s debatable how much advertising value there was in this behaviour, but credit to those who gave it a go. At Engage Web, we can help you gain more business through your site, including Facebook Ads strategies that work even when Facebook isn’t in meltdown, so don’t hesitate to have a chat with us.