Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram services go down second time this year
Facebook (FB), Instagram and WhatsApp all suffered outages midday Monday, according to public statements from the three Facebook services.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook said on Twitter. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
Outage tracking site Down Detector logged tens of thousands of reports for each of the services. Facebook’s own site would not load at all for about an hour on Monday; Instagram and WhatsApp were accessible, but could not load new content or send messages.
The reason for the outage was not immediately clear. However, multiple security experts quickly pointed to a Domain Name System (DNS) problem as a possible culprit. Around 1 pm ET, Cisco’s internet analysis division ThousandEyes said on Twitter that its tests indicate the outage is due to an ongoing DNS failure. The DNS translates website names into IP addresses that can be read by a computer. It’s often called the “phonebook of the internet.”
More than four hours after the outage started, Facebook CTO Mark Schroepfer tweeted: “We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible.”
Users trying to access Facebook in affected areas were greeted with the message: “Something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said on Twitter, echoing similar statements from Instagram and WhatsApp.
A major outage hitting all three platforms, which have billions of users, is rare though apps are regularly forced offline by technical problems.
Facebook has not communicated on the possible cause of the outage, but cyber security experts noted they had found signs that online routes that lead people to the social giant were disrupted.
“Facebook and related properties disappeared from the Internet in a flurry of BGP updates,” tweeted John Graham-Cumming, the chief technology officer at web company Cloudflare.
He added that minutes before the services went offline “we saw a large number of … changes (mostly route withdrawals)”.
The outage comes a day after a whistleblower went on US television to reveal her identity after she leaked a trove of documents alleging the social media giant knew its products were fueling hate and harming children’s mental health.
Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa, has worked for companies including Google and Pinterest — but said in an interview with CBS news show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “substantially worse” than anything she had seen before.
The world’s largest social media platform has been embroiled in a firestorm brought about by Haugen, with US lawmakers and The Wall Street Journal detailing how Facebook knew its products, including Instagram, were harming young girls, especially around body image.