MySpace's usual homepage was replaced this evening with a puzzling message, leading many (including this reporter) to initially believe the site may have been hacked. That apparently was not the case.
Visitors to the social network were greeted by a largely blank page topped with the browser title bar that read "All is wrong :(" where the MySpace name would normally appear. In the upper left of the normally vibrant page was the message: "We messed up our code so bad that even puppies and kittens may be in danger. Please turn back ...now." It was followed up with the message, "* Have your pet spayed or neutered" in the lower right.
A few minutes after being accessed by CNET and contacted for comment, MySpace's page was replaced with the message, "The service is unavailable," only to be replaced again with the original message.
MySpace representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some Twitter users suggested the site had been hacked, with at least one wondering whether the former social-networking high-flyer might have fallen victim to Anonymous. Members of the hactivist group recently vowed to take down the social-networking giant Facebook in November, but there is some suggestion that the group's members are not unified in this goal. Regardless, MySpace's name has not recently been named as a target for hacking.
But the former social-networking sensation has fallen on hard times lately, losing more and more ground to Facebook until it finally underwent a massive redesign that left it focusing on pop culture media-sharing for young users rather than attempting to be a universally appealing social network.
But that failed to assuage executives at News Corp., which after a very public expression of its dissatisfaction with the site's foundering performance, sold MySpace in June to digital-media company Specific Media for a reported $35 million.
News Corp. bought MySpace in 2005 for $580 million as part of its purchase of Intermix.
Updated at 12 a.m. PT to reflect that this was apparently a MySpace outage and not a hacking.