Facebook was forced to shut down its services temporarily after an employee accidentally leaked new features for the site that were not quite ready for launch.
The social network, which is used by more than 500 million people around the world, was offline for around 20 to 30 minutes on Thursday between 9pm and 10pm GMT.
A spokesperson for Facebook said: “For a brief period of time, some internal prototypes were made public to a number of people externally.
“As a result, we took the site down for a few minutes. It’s back up, and we apologise for the inconvenience.”
According to tech news website Mashable, the outage came as Facebook began rolling out a range of new features, including a new photos section called ‘Memories’ that allows users to view photos chronologically.
As well as providing the statement above, Facebook clarified to Wired.com: “This had nothing to do with privacy or security.”
Wired.com said that Facebook also added that the error was to be expected when there is a “culture of iterative innovation” and that “sometimes code gets pushed out before it’s ready”.
Online retailer Amazon suffered an outage in its European domains earlier this week, which it said was caused by a hardware failure.