Facebook crash locks out thousands

It's been a tough week for Facebook. In addition to disappointingly low stock prices following its 18 May IPO, the social network appears to have suffered from technical issues as well.

The site, which has more than 900 million registered users, went offline for some users beginning at roughly 2300 GMT on 31 May. The outage reportedly lasted for up to two hours.

"Yesterday, some users briefly experienced issues loading the site. The issues have since been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologise for any inconvenience", the company said in a statement.

The hacktivist group Anonymous later claimed responsibility for the outage. "Looks like good old FaceBook is having packet problems", the group tweeted. "Oh yeah... RIP Facebook a new sound of tango down b*****s", it added. The phrase "RIP Facebook" became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter shortly afterwards.

Despite a five per cent increase in share prices yesterday, the company's stock remains well below its original offering price of $38 (£24.7).

Update: Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Anonymous announced on 1 June that it was not responsible for the Facebook outage that kept thousands of users from accessing the social network.

"A quick poll of [key Anonymous organisers], representing a very broad spectrum of the global collective, quickly showed that no one in the actual Anonymous knew anything about an attack on Facebook", the group wrote in a press release.

The group went on to say that though "Facebook has much to be ashamed of, and has earned the hatred of all human rights and information activists", there are no plans to target the social media platform.