Facebook apologises for global outage and says 'faulty configuration change’ to blame

By Fionnula Hainey

Facebook has apologised for a global outage which saw platforms including Instagram and Whatsapp go down for several hours on Monday.

The social media giant blamed a 'faulty configuration change' for the widespread outage, adding that there was no evidence any user data had been compromised.

Thousands of people reported being unable to access Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp from around 5pm on Monday afternoon.

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Users of the platforms were met with error messages saying that feeds could not be refreshed.

Facebook and Instagram feeds started to slowly return just before 11pm, while WhatsApp said its services were 'back and running at 100%' as of 3.30am on Tuesday.

Facebook had to resort to using social media rival Twitter to confirm to its users that they were aware of issues and working to resolve them.

The company then issued an apology for the outage at around 11.30pm. A statement read: “To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry.

“We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.”

A “faulty configuration change” on its routers was believed to be at the centre of the outage, Facebook said.

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication," a statement explained.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

The platform added it was working to understand more about the outage in order to “make our infrastructure more resilient”.

As people found other ways to spend their evening amid the outage, Twitter joked: “Hello literally everyone.”

But Twitter also came across problems due to the high number of people accessing its platform.

Twitter Support tweeted: “Sometimes more people than usual use Twitter. We prepare for these moments, but today things didn’t go exactly as planned.

“Some of you may have had an issue seeing replies and DMs as a result. This has been fixed. Sorry about that!”

Facebook’s share price plummeted 4.9 per cent amid the outage, which also came the day after a whistleblower claimed in a US interview that the company prioritises its own interests over the public good.

The platforms were affected by outages in 2019 – in an incident which saw #FacebookDown, #instagramdown and #whatsappdown trending worldwide on Twitter.


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