Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms suffered a global outage that lasted more than three hours on Monday. Facebook’s internal systems used by employees have also declined. Service has not yet been restored.
The company did not specify the cause of the outage, which began around 11:40 a.m. ET. Websites and applications often experience outages of varying size and duration, but global downtime lasting several hours is rare.
“It’s epic,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analytics for Kentik Inc. less than an hour. The stricken content delivery company in this case, Fastly, blamed it on software but triggered by a customer who changed a setting.
Facebook’s only public comment so far was a tweet in which it acknowledged that “some people are having difficulty accessing (the) Facebook app” and that it is working to restore access. Regarding internal failures, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri tweeted that it looked like a “snowy day.”
So many people depend on Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram as their primary mode of communication that losing access for so long can make them vulnerable to criminals who profit from the outage, said Rachel Tobac, hacker and CEO of SocialProof Security.
“They don’t know how to contact the people in their life without it,” she said. “They’re more sensitive to social engineering because they’re so desperate to communicate.” Tobac has said in previous outages that some people have received emails promising to restore their social media accounts by clicking on a malicious link that may expose their personal data.
The cause of the failure remains uncertain. Malory said it appeared Facebook had removed the “authoritative DNS routes” that allowed the rest of the internet to communicate with its properties.
Such routes are part of the Internet’s domain name system, a key structure that determines where Internet traffic should go. DNS translates an address like “facebook.com” to an IP address like 22.214.171.1240. If Facebook’s DNS records were to go missing, apps and web addresses would be unable to locate them.
Jake Williams, chief technical officer of cybersecurity firm BreachQuest, said that while foul play could not be completely ruled out, there was a good chance the outage was “an operational problem” caused by human error.
Madory said there was no sign that anyone other than Facebook was responsible and ruled out the possibility that another major internet player, such as a telecommunications company, had inadvertently rewritten the major ones. routing tables that affect Facebook. “No one else has announced these routes,” Mador said.
Facebook is going through a separate major crisis after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, provided the Wall Street Journal with internal documents that exposed the company’s awareness of the damage done by its products and decisions. Haugen made the “60 Minutes” public on Sunday and is expected to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.
Haugen had also anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement, alleging that Facebook’s own research showed how it amplified hatred and misinformation, led to increased polarization, and that Instagram, in particular, could harm society. adolescent mental health.
The Journal’s articles, titled “The Facebook Files,” paint a portrait of a business focused on growth and its own interests above the public good. Facebook has tried to minimize the search. Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of policy and public affairs, wrote to Facebook employees on Friday in a note that “Social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate takes place. “
Twitter, meanwhile, rang out from the company’s main Twitter account, posting “Hello literally everyone” as jokes and memes about the Facebook outage flooded the platform. Later, as an unverified screenshot suggesting the facebook.com address was for sale circulated, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted “how much? “
– The Associated Press