Facebook has apologized for the outage that affected the social media giant along with Instagram and WhatsApp for several hours late Monday.
In a statement published on Twitter at 11:31 pm, Facebook Engineering confirmed that the platforms were back online and thanked its millions of users around the world for “the cooperation”.
“To the vast community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we’re sorry,” the statement said.
“We have worked hard to regain access to our apps and services and are happy to announce that they are now back online. Thank you for accompanying us. “
The platforms had confirmed on Twitter that they were aware of the problems and were working to resolve them after thousands of people reported outages just before 5 p.m. on Monday.
Users were able to access Facebook and Instagram late Monday evening, but many still struggled with WhatsApp.
Security experts speculated that the problem occurred after network changes, with the cause still unconfirmed.
Adam Leon Smith of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and software testing expert, said, “The outage is caused by changes to the Facebook network infrastructure.
“Many of the recent high profile outages have been caused by similar network-level events.
“It is reported by unidentified Facebook sources on Reddit that the network changes have also prevented engineers from remotely connecting to resolve the issues, delaying resolution.
“It is noteworthy that many companies are now defining their physical infrastructure as code, but most do not apply the same level of testing accuracy when changing that code as they are when changing their core business logic.”
However, cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore said there was a “chance” the problem could be related to a cyberattack.
He told the PA news agency: “There have been a lot of reports and I am struggling to find out exactly what happened to your device.
“It could well be a human error or a software bug lurking in the shadows, but whatever it is, Facebook must do its best to mitigate the problem, cause more panic about it.
“The biggest problem is fears of a cyber attack, but as we saw from Fastly this summer, I’d hedge my bets that it wouldn’t since we’re talking about one of the largest companies in the world, but there’s always a chance . “
The New York Times reported that the problem was likely due to a misconfiguration of Facebook’s server computers that didn’t allow people to connect to its websites like Instagram and WhatsApp.
The problems appeared to be more complex and required a manual update.
Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said on Twitter: “* Sincere * apologies to everyone currently experiencing Facebook-based service outages.
“We have network problems and the teams are working as quickly as possible to fix bugs and restore them as quickly as possible.”
Data from the web service monitoring platform DownDetector showed that by shortly after 5 p.m. almost 50,000 people had reported the outages on Facebook.
Most of the complaints cited problems with the website (72%), while others were related to problems with the server connection and the app.
More than 75,000 had complained about WhatsApp, with 43% reporting problems with the app itself, while 28% citing the server connection and 28% citing sending messages.
More than 30,000 Instagram users had similar complaints, 51% related to the app, 26% to the server connection and 23% to the website.
A graph on the DownDetector website showed a significant increase after 4:00 p.m.
Facebook’s share price slumped 4.9% during the failure, which also came the day after a whistleblower claimed in a US interview that the company puts its own interests above the public good.
The platforms were hit by outages in 2019 – in an incident where #FacebookDown, #instagramdown and #whatsappdown were all the rage on Twitter around the world.
A few months earlier, Facebook and Instagram users reported that they were unable to open pages or sections in the apps.
Whatsapp said in a statement: “We are aware that some people are currently having problems with WhatsApp.
“We are working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.”
Instagram said, “Instagram and friends are having a bit of a hard time right now, and you may have trouble using them. Have patience, we’ll be there. “
The problem also affected other platforms like Twitter as traffic increased on its website and app.
Twitter support tweeted: “Sometimes more people use Twitter than usual. We are preparing for these moments, but not everything went according to plan today.
“Some of you may have a problem seeing answers and DMs. This has been fixed. I’m sorry for that!”
It had previously joked: “Hello everyone, literally.”
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