Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Netflix, Facebook Get a Little Dose of Irony

Isn't it ironic when you use the Internet to make your business processes more efficient, and then it ends up breaking down and causing the exact opposite effect? This is exactly what happened with U.S. movie rental provider Netflix.

If you're not familiar with Netflix, it's a modern-day DVD rental service that lets customers rent DVDs online, and have them mailed directly to their homes. But yesterday, the site experienced a major outage that left customers all over the U.S. literally in the dark...or at least with dark TV screens. According to the Associated Press, DVDs that were to be delivered on Monday were likely delayed until today. Ahh, there's nothing like sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and sodas to watch a movie that isn't there!

Sure, glitches happen, and customers will always have to be aware of that when dealing with any form of technology. But I can see old-school supporters all over pumping their fists in the air yelling: "and you laughed at me when I said I'd walk to the video store to rent my movie!"

But Netflix isn't alone. Over in the Web world, there's another company facing some technical nightmares: Facebook.com, which just can't seem to stay out of the news these days! A security issue yesterday led to hundreds of photos being exposed for anyone to see, including private photos from Hollywood socialite Paris Hilton; and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg! (Hey, if there's ever an argument for sympathy, it's to say "look, I was affected by this glitch as well!") To put the ironic icing on the cake, the loophole to gain access was discovered as a result of the company's attempt to ramp up privacy controls!

Supposedly the issue was fixed within the hour. The Associated Press noted that "Some members of social networks like Facebook post photos of themselves or others in potentially embarrassing or compromising situations that include illegal drug use or underage drinking that can cause trouble at school or work." Sorry, but if you're posting images like that, Facebook isn't the problem.

As for "normal" members, you can rest easy that computer hackers (likely the only people that would have figured out how to bypass security) were probably more interested in seeing Paris Hilton's photos than pix of you with your little puppy, or your little kid's b-day party!

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