Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp hit by global outage

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for users across the globe, the social media giant said on Monday, as it worked on restoring the services after being hit by one of its longest outages.

The disruption, which hit Facebook’s platforms minutes before noon, comes a day after a whistleblower accused the firm of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

(Also ReadFacebook asks judge to dismiss lawsuit to force sale of Instagram, WhatsApp)

Shares of Facebook (FB.O), which has nearly 2 billion daily active users, opened lower after the weekend’s whistleblower report and slipped further to trade down 5.3% in afternoon trading on Monday. They were on track for their worst day in nearly a year, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday.

(Also ReadSenator asks Facebook CEO to answer questions on teen safety)

Facebook was inaccessible because users were not being directed to the correct place by the Domain Name System. Facebook itself controls the relevant settings.

DNS allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc (AKAM.O) took down multiple websites in July.

Security experts tracking the situation said the outage likely was triggered by a configuration error that left directions to Facebook servers unavailable. That could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

(Also ReadKellogg Hansen denies ethics conflict over Facebook defense)

An outside hack was viewed as less likely. A massive denial-of-service attack that could overwhelm one of the world’s most popular sites, on the other hand, would require either coordination among powerful criminal groups or a very innovative technique.

“We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Facebook tweeted about 30 minutes after the first reports of the outage.

Facebook’s response was made much more difficult because employees lost access to some of their own tools in the shutdown, people tracking the matter said.

Downdetector – which only tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform – showed there were more than 50,000 incidents of people reporting issues with Facebook and Instagram. The outage might be affecting a larger number of users.

Meanwhile, the social-media giant’s instant messaging platform WhatsApp was also down for over 35,000 users, while Messenger was down for nearly 9,800 users.

Facebook has experienced similar widespread outages with its suite of apps this year in March and July.

Several users using their Facebook credentials to log in to third-party apps such as Pokemon Go and Match Masters were also facing issues.

“If your game isn’t running as usual please note that there’s been an issue with Facebook login servers and the moment this gets fixed all will be back to normal,” puzzle game app Match Masters said on its Twitter account.

Reporting by Eva Mathews and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Tiyashi Datta, Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Shailesh Kuber and Anil D’Silva
REUTERS
- Advertisement -