Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Facebook Flaw Unmasks Zuckerberg's Private Photos To World

Facebook this week fixed a security flaw that circumvented the social networking site's privacy settings and exposed private photos of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend to the Web.

Facebook later explained that the vulnerability was introduced in a recent code update and only existed for a "limited period." "Not all content was accessible, rather a small number of one's photos," Facebook said in a statement. "Upon discovering the bug, we immediately disabled the system, and will only return functionality once we can confirm the bug has been fixed."

The timing is rather unfortunate, as Zuckerberg just last week apologized for Facebook's track record of not keeping its privacy promises to users. This time around the error was unintentional, but with 800 million users, any sort of security issue is going to send ripples of consternation rippling through the herd.

Amazon Facing Questions Over Wave Of Cloud Reboots

Amazon is being peppered with questions after notifying Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers this week of forthcoming reboots of EC2 cloud instances. Amazon says the reboots, set to take place in the coming weeks, are needed "in order to receive some patch updates," and that most will only minutes.

However, some customers aren't buying that explanation. "Reboot of this many servers across multiple regions has the whiff of a security patch," one AWS user wrote on Twitter.

Other AWS customers are irritated by Amazon's timing. "AWS wants me to reboot 75 EC2 instances within 6 days. This seems to be poor timing to have this happen in the month of December," another AWS customer wrote on Twitter.

AT&T Ranked Worst Carrier For Second Straight Year

AT&T is trying to convince various government regulatory authorities that its acquisition of T-Mobile will be a big bundle of benevolence for the telecommunications market, but that campaign could be stalled by news that Consumer Reports has once again found it to be dead last in customer satisfaction. As was the case last year, AT&T was found to be lacking in quality of voice service and phone support.

Meanwhile, as if this weren't enough, AT&T has reportedly begun throttling bandwidth for its heaviest users with unlimited data accounts. AT&T warned that it would do this back in July, but the carrier hasn't spelled out what exactly constitutes excessive bandwidth usage.

Verizon's LTE Network Suffers Another Outage

Verizon's national 4G LTE network was hit with an outage this week that slowed subscribers' data speeds to 3G levels for a 24 hour period. While that might not sound like a huge deal, Verizon customers were peeved by the carrier's silence on the cause of the issue, which is understandable given how much marketing the carrier has been doing around 4G LTE.

Verizon's 4G LTE network now serves some 200 million people in 190 U.S. markets. While the carrier's reputation is still solid, and customers are generally aware that downtime is a reality for telecommunications service providers, silence in this case is anything but golden.

Cisco Decides Market Needs More Cius Tablets

The Android tablet market is quickly becoming overcrowded, and Apple's iPad continues to dominate in the enterprise. Nonetheless, Cisco believes there's room for more of its Android based Cius tablets, and this week the networking vendor revealed its intention to launch two more Cius versions in 2012.

But according to Cisco solution providers, the Cius high price point -- $725 for a basic Wi-Fi-only version before volume discounts -- could be a barrier for companies, particularly when so many enterprises are buying up iPads, sometimes thousands of units in a single order.

Cisco, however, believes that customers with Cisco-centric network infrastructure will prefer the Cius over the iPad. Microsoft and HP have a similar view and have been vocal about the iPad's shortcomings in security and management. As soon as Fortune 500 firm take a break from their frenzied iPad buying, perhaps they'll start listening to the iPad detractors' warnings.