Too many happy returns: Facebook bug spams users with birthday reminders

Birthday Cake

If you’ve been submerged under a deluge of reminders for friends’ birthdays on Facebook, you’re not alone: the social network has confirmed that a bug in its notification system meant that it sent out many many more push notifications, emails and the like than it should have.

Typically, Facebook only sends one notification per birthday to users, and only sends emails to those who have chosen (either actively or passively) to receive them.

But over the past month, some users have reported a massive increase in notifications from the website, giving multiple prods over multiple media to wish friends a happy birthday. While many assumed the change was deliberate, or perhaps a form of user experience testing, as with so many of the site’s undocumented alterations, it was apparently a freak accident.

Facebook confirmed to Slate’s Jacob Brogan that the bug, which has now been fixed, resulted in users who had never signed up to email notifications for birthdays still incorrectly being sent the missives.

“It was not immediately clear whether the other, similarly persistent, notifications were part of the same problem”, Brogan wrote.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Alex Hern, for theguardian.com on Monday 11th May 2015 15.36 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010