Facebook says annoying birthday alerts were a bug

As with phone numbers, remembering someone's birthday has become less necessary thanks to the intrusion of technology into our everyday lives. In this case, you're likely to know it is someone's birthday because Facebook makes sure it tells you — only, recently, the social network has seemed to go far out of its way to make sure you see birthday notifications, having them pop up anywhere you happen to have Facebook connected. Fortunately, that's not a permanent annoyance.

If you've a Facebook account and a friend who recently had a birthday, you likely noticed the birthday notifications popping up everywhere: on desktop, on mobile, in your email. Maybe you even took steps to stop the onslaught, only to discover that you were powerless to prevent the alerts.

All of that, says a Facebook representative in a statement to Slate, was caused by a notification system bug. If all had been right in the Facebook world, the user would have gotten a single notification wherever they were using Facebook, and that would have been enough. With the bug, though, everyone got an email alert.

Whether the other notifications were also part of the issue wasn't made clear, though it'll become obvious enough that they were if their presence dials back in the coming weeks. Still, if you're not fond of the birthday notifications at all, you can just turn them off entirely.