Facebook’s “Like” button, a part of its login system, is being intercepted by China’s Great Firewall system that mediates authorization of users by third-party websites via the social networking site. This resulted in Chinese users trying to access websites using the Facebook login feature getting redirected to some other unrelated webpages, as reported by The Verge.

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Not the first incident

The interruption by the Chinese censoring system forwarded web users to either of two third-party websites, namely wpkg.org and ptraveller.com. The former is an open source software site that enables upgrade or deletion of Windows, while the latter represents a travel blog which has experienced heavy internet traffic lately.

But such incidents have happened in China in the past as well. One such event happened in January of last year when the censoring agency tried to limit GreatFire.org, which allows users to bypass the Great Firewall restrictions. The attempt accidentally blocked all of the country’s web users from accessing a lot of Internet services. In addition, a similar effort by the U.K. government to sort out child pornography content blacklisted a number of Wikipedia pages.

Why is Facebook targeted?

The interception, initiated as content makes its way through the country’s web filters, does not seem to be carried out by the local government. Besides, the mishap has caused blocking of web pages that were not intended to be banned by authorities, claimed Nicholas Weaver, an expert on China’s censorship tools.

Moreover, Weaver suggested that though the issue has been fixed, it is expected to have long-lasting effects, as it appears to have entered into the users’ DNS caches. In this regard, one of Facebook’s spokespersons told The Verge that the interruption has occurred “beyond the reach of company’s servers” and indicated that it has been probing into the issue. However, some have recommended that the problem can be prevented by using VPNs or by deactivating the JavaScript that is essential for the interfering code to function.

Nonetheless, targeting Facebook through interception still does not make much sense, considering the social networking service is officially blocked in the country. According to some, the attack is being conducted to deceive people attempting to log in to Facebook.