Router was bad, says Facebook after FB, Instagram, WhatsApp go down

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Oct 05, 2021, 07:49 AM(IST)

Social media (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The outage of popular social media apps Facebook. Instagram and Whatsapp left billions of users in limbo. Facebook apologised for the outage but didn't immediately say what caused the outage

Facebook said on Tuesday (Indian time) that the major outage of its main social media app along with WhatsApp and Instagram was caused due to configuration changes it made to routers that coordinate network traffic between its data centers.

Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp started working again late on Monday after an outage that lasted nearly six-hours. This prevented the company`s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services.

Facebook apologized but did not immediately explain what caused the failure, the largest ever tracked by web monitoring group Downdetector. Facebook claimed that there was no evidence that user data was compromised.

The outage was a second blow to social media giant Facebook after a whistleblower on Sunday alleged that Facebook had repeatedly prioritise profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

Also Read | Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp services down for users

As the world flocked to competing apps such as Twitter and TikTok, shares of Facebook fell 4.9%, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday. Shares rose about half a percent in after-hours trade following resumption of service.

"To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I`m sorry," Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer tweeted, adding that it "may take some time to get to 100%."

Several Facebook employees who declined to be named said that they believed that the outage was caused by an internal mistake in how internet traffic is routed to its systems. The failures of internal communication tools and other resources that depend on that same network in order to work compounded the error, the employees said.

Also Read | Hate speech for profit: Facebook whistleblower reveals identity

Security experts said an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider were both plausible.

"Facebook basically locked its keys in its car," tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard`s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Twitter on Monday reported higher-than-normal usage, which led to some issues in people accessing posts and direct messages.

In one of the day`s most popular tweets, video streaming company Netflix shared a meme from its new hit show "Squid Game" captioned "When Instagram & Facebook are down," that showed a person labeled "Twitter" holding up a character on the verge of falling labeled "everyone."

(With inputs from agencies)

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