Facebook inadvertently handed over administrative control for about 17 Facebook Pages on Wednesday, including pages for Microsoft and several airlines.
The bug was noticed late Wednesday by Tom Krieglstein, founder of Chicago-based technology training company Swift Kick, who found he had been granted administrative access to Pages belonging to Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. "I was just looking at my Pages," he said in an interview Thursday. "I noticed that it was showing me other companies' as well."
The largest Page, Star Wars, allowed him to send a message out to more than 825,000 fans.
Facebook users typically set up their own profiles to share information about themselves, but they can also set up Facebook Pages to share information about businesses they own or represent. The popular social network has undergone a major redesign in recent weeks, including a revamped version of Facebook Pages
Krieglstein believes a glitch in the redesign allowed him to get control of the Pages. To test that he really did have administrative control, he sent out a link to the Star Wars group of a child playing the movie's theme song on a harp. Within a few hours, about 450 people had clicked on the link.
Krieglstein said he could have kicked other administrators off the Pages, added content, or even deleted the Pages altogether.
In an odd turn of events, Facebook said later on Thursday that Krieglstein had actually created all of these Pages himself, over the past year-and-a-half, and that the social network had accidentally restored admin privileges to him, the Pages' creator. "We investigated this report and found it to be an isolated incident," the company said in a statement. "The error has been fixed, and we have received no other reports about this issue."
But Krieglstein disputed Facebook's explanation, saying he "definitely did not create" any of the Pages belonging to other companies.
Krieglstein lost administrative control of the other Pages around 2 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, shortly after the blog Allfacebook.com posted a story about the glitch.
He also lost control of his own Pages. "Now I'm not even admin on my own company," he said.
He doesn't know what caused the problem but believes that he may have had administrative control of the Pages ever since Facebook began rolling out the redesign a few weeks ago. "I think it's just Facebook pushing out too quickly," he said. "I really think it was just a kink in the new code."