Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger went down for users around the world for nearly six hours today.
According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 16:44 BST (11:44 ET), with nearly 80,000 reports for WhatsApp and more than 50,000 for Facebook.
NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages and their impact, estimate the outage cost the global economy $160m (£117 million), and sent the Facebook share price down by more than five per cent.
The exact cause of the outage has not been confirmed by Facebook, but one expert said the problem may have been caused by an internal error made by staff.
From around 10.30pm, some users were reporting that they were now able to access the four platforms, although Facebook – which owns them all – has not yet announced that the problem has been fully resolved.
John Graham-Cunningham, the chief technology officer of web security firm CloudFlare, said Facebook made a series of updates to its border gateway protocol (BGP) which caused it to ‘disappear’ from the internet.
The BGP allows for the exchange of routing information on the internet and takes people to the websites they want to access.
Dane Knecht, senior vice president of the firm, said earlier the Facebook Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes had been ‘withdrawn from the internet.’
Cybersecurity expert, Kevin Beaumont, wrote on Twitter: ‘This one looks like a pretty epic configuration error, Facebook basically don’t exist on the internet right now. Even their authoritative name server ranges have been BGP withdrawn.’
Facebook’s response to the problem was reportedly hampered by the fact there are a lack of staff working in its data centers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company’s staff were also said to be unable to get in to their offices today to evaluate the extent of the outage because their security passes were not working.
Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, run on a shared back-end infrastructure, creating a ‘single point of failure’ according to experts.
It wasn’t just the main Facebook apps going down, other services, including Facebook Workplace and the Oculus website were also down.
Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, Mike Schroepfer, offered his ‘sincere apologies’ for the outage on Monday afternoon
There have been a number of social media outages in recent months, with Instagram going down for 16 hours just last month, and all Facebook platforms going offline in June.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey appeared to make light of Facebook’s plight on Monday. Responding to a post which appeared to show how the facebook.com domain is for sale as a result of the outage, he jokingly asked: ‘How much?’
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Source: Daily Mail