BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The social networking site Myspace crashed for nearly three hours on Thursday after tens of millions of estranged users logged on to the site within 24 hours.
The crash came one day after President Barack Obama signed into law the No Social Networking Site Left Behind Act.
“Myspace has been declining for years and we thought we’d give it a little pick-me-up,” Obama said at a press conference in Washington. “It’s good for Myspace but it is also good for the users. We feel it’s important for people to change their music lists, update old photos and rekindle with old contacts.”
The new law requires users to log on to their social networking sites at least once a quarter or be required to pay a penalty.
From 2005 to early 2008, Myspace was the most visited Social networking site in the world and, in 2006, it surpassed Google as the most visited Web site in the United States. The site, which was once valued at close to $12 billion, sold for just $35 million to Justin Timberlake and Company in 2011. At one point the site was losing 10 million users a month, many of whom were migrating to Facebook, the largest social networking site in the world.
As news of the new law spread, Myspace users across the United States began reestablishing their old accounts.
Myspace complimented the new law by allowing users who had forgotten their passwords to log on to the site with a one day temporary password, “Sasquatch,” plus the telephone number used to set up the original account.
The media coverage and easy access prompted an estimated 48 million unique visitors in one day. That’s almost double what Myspace typically receives in one month.
“Our servers were just not ready for that amount of visitors,” Timberlake said. “Regardless, we are extremely happy about the increased traffic.”
While the temporary password helped users log on to the site, it also jeopardized user privacy. The Federal Communications Commission is investigating allegations of widespread privacy violations for Myspace. The temporary password deal led to widespread hacking allegations. Users gained access other users’ accounts by simply remembering the users’ old phone numbers.
Timberlake would not comment in detail about the allegations.
“We will let the lawyers hash that out,” he said. “That’s what they get paid for.”
Still, most of the talk among Myspace users was positive.
“I was able to reconnect with an old friend or two,” said Los Angeles resident Jamie Jimmerson, who until now had not logged on to Myspace since 2010. “We are planning a fishing trip in the Florida Keys, all thanks to Myspace, Sasquatch and President Obama.”