One thing that has been eluding the internet is a global web identity; one identity that one can be used across all websites and forums. While inroads have been made with other services, because of its popularity, Facebook is the closest we have so far to a universal digital identity, and many websites are taking advantage of this by using Facebook Connect.
Facebook Connect is a way to allow readers of a website to login via their Facebook account. You probably have seen this crop up all over the internet. And it is this same Facebook Connect that brought down thousands (millions?) of websites this past Thursday.
You may or may not have noticed, but this past Thursday some websites were redirecting visitors to an error page, websites such as Mashable and CNN. Any website that integrates with Facebook via Facebook Connect was redirecting their readers to a Facebook error page due to a bug in Facebook Connect. This bug went on for a few minutes before Facebook noticed and fixed it.
Of course not all users were affected. According to reports, people had to be logged into Facebook and Facebook Connect for the redirection to happen. And obviously not all websites use Facebook Connect. However, there are a good number of Facebook users out there (over a billion, if Facebook is to be believed) and a good number of websites do use Facebook Connect. So, because of this over-reliance on Facebook, when something goes wrong at Facebook Connect, it affects a whole shitload of people. And a whole shitload of wallets.
Note to self: if you ever want to bring down the internet, just screw with Facebook.