How to Access Facebook When You Can’t Log in

facebook-fWhile trying to log into Facebook a few days ago, I got the message, “Your account is temporarily unavailable due to site maintenance. It should be available again within a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.” I checked with friends, and they were able to access their accounts, so the problem seemed to be limited.

It turns out that there have been widespread complaints about this issue, which Facebook has acknowledged on its Help page:

“Site Maintenance” error
Some users have experienced difficulty logging in to and using the site for several days, receiving “Site Maintenance” error messages after logging in. We are aware of this technical issue and are working to resolve it as soon as possible. We apologize for the delay.

I was lucky, and was able to get back into the Facebook site fairly quickly. While I was locked out, I couldn’t post to my personal Facebook page, but fortunately I could use some Facebook functions because I’d set up RSS feeds and access via third-party programs in advance.

Unfortunately, Facebook seems to be discouraging RSS feeds for Notifications (messages like “Jane Doe has commented on your link”), so you may not be able to follow the RSS instructions given in the Facebook Help. Status Updates (like “Jane Doe is ready for a long weekend”) can be accessed via a Facebook application that creates an RSS feed for your status updates.

If you administer any Facebook Groups and Pages, these should be unaffected by log-in failures. So make sure that you give a friend administrative rights to your group or page. If their accounts are not affected, they can post material for you. You should also be able to post to Facebook Pages (but not Groups) via third-party programs such as and Seesmic Desktop, if you set up these programs with posting rights ahead of time.

It’s frustrating when you can’t log into the Facebook site, but you may be able to do more than you expect. Let’s hope that while Facebook is having log-in issues, it allows easier access to our data through RSS and third-party programs.

How do you manage when you can’t log into Facebook?