WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram are going down

Facebook (FB), Instagram and WhatsApp suffered outages on Monday lunchtime, according to public statements by the three Facebook services.

The Down Detector outage tracking site logged tens of thousands of reports for each of the services. Your own Facebook site would not load at all; Instagram and WhatsApp were available, but could not load any new content or send messages.

The failure came amid mounting difficulties for the company.

At a Senate hearing on September 30, Senator Richard Blumenthal pushed Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global security chief, on Instagram and the platform’s potential negative impact on children, especially young girls.

On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a segment in which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company knew how its platforms were being used to spread hatred, violence and misinformation, and Facebook had tried to hide that evidence. Facebook has pushed these claims back.

The interview followed weeks of Facebook reporting and criticism after Haugen posted thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators and the Wall Street Journal. Haugen will testify to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security on Tuesday.

In her prepared statement, which CNN received on the Monday before her appearance in front of the subcommittee, Haugen said: “I came forward because I realized a terrifying truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what is happening inside Facebook.”

Facebook declined to comment on Monday.

The fact that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all had significant issues for around six hours was a big event for many users.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen an outage like this at a major Internet company,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analytics for network monitoring firm Kentik.

For many people, Madory told CNN, “Facebook is the Internet to them.”

Companies sometimes lose internet connectivity when they update their network configurations, Madory said. So it happened in June with Fastly, a US cloud computing company, which had a worldwide internet outage for about 50 minutes.

But the fact that a company the size and resources of Facebook was offline for about six hours suggests that there wasn’t a quick fix to the problem.

Facebook tweeted shortly after 6:30 p.m. ET that its apps and services started working again.

“To the vast community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we’re sorry,” it 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 your understanding.”

Later on Monday, Facebook VP of Infrastructure Santosh Janardhan posted a statement saying the company apologized for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage on our platforms.

“Our engineering teams learned that configuration changes to the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers were causing problems that disrupted that communication. This disruption in network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate and took our services to a higher level, ”said Janardhan.

Previously, several security experts had quickly pointed out a Domain Name System (DNS) problem as a possible culprit. Around 1:00 p.m. ET, Cisco’s ThousandEyes internet analytics division said on twitter that his tests showed that the failure was due to a persistent DNS bug. DNS translates website names into IP addresses that can be read by a computer. It is often referred to as the “phone book of the Internet”.
More than four hours after the outage began, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer tweeted: “We have network problems and the teams are working as quickly as possible to fix bugs and restore them as quickly as possible.”

When the services came back online, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page.

“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are now back online,” he wrote. “Sorry to bother you today – I know how much you rely on our services to keep in touch with the people you care about.”

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