Nasdaq has revealed that a glitch in the stock market's computer software was to blame for a number of delays that hit Facebook's first day of trading on Friday.
The social network was floated on the stock market when founder Mark Zuckerberg rang the opening bell on Friday morning, but the initial public offering (IPO) was hit by a series of delays and mishandled orders.
It is thought that poor design of the relevant software caused Nasdaq's systems to fall into a "loop", which prevented the Facebook IPO from launching on time, and led to a number of delayed and cancelled orders.
The meant that Facebook's first day of trading was not quite as successful as had been anticipated, with the site's shares ending the day up 0.6 per cent having risen to 18 per cent earlier in the day.
Nasdaq chief executive Robert Greifeld said he was "humbly embarrassed" at the error which effected the "biggest IPO cross in the history of mankind".
Speaking after Nasdaq called a board meeting to discuss the issue, Greifeld said: "This was not our finest hour. We're not happy with our performance."
A third-party reviewer will analyse those investors who were denied orders during the opening auctions, and Nasdaq will use an accommodation pool to pay back these investors. It is thought that these refunds could add up to as much as $13million.
Orders totally around 30 million shares were placed between a 20-minute period of the opening auction morning, and Griefeld estimates that around half of these orders will involve "some level of dispute".
This delay has obviously had a detrimental effect on Facebook's performance in the stock market, which had been launched under a tremendous amount of hype. Having expected share prices to soar throughout the day, they ended just a fraction above their starting price, which will no doubt have come as a disappointment to Zuckerberg.
Whether its shambolic IPO launch effects Facebook's shares in the long term remains to be seen. However, it can only have made tentative investors even more cautious about buying into the social network, at least for now.