Monday’s outage of Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, one of the longest in Facebook’s history, marooned billions of users who rely on the social media giant and its apps for everything from connecting with friends to running their businesses and logging into websites.
The three apps – which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – all completely stopped working shortly before 5pm. Other products that are part of the same family of apps, such as Facebook Workplace, also stopped working.
Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp 7hrs Blackout: What transpired
WhatsApp was the first to fail – initially the web version, then the phone app, before Facebook and Instagram followed suit, leaving users unable to view their messages or feeds on the three social networks.
The outage wasn’t concentrated on one region either, with reports of issues throughout the USA, UK, Africa, and Europe, as well as Latin America.
The social network and the Facebook-owned platforms stopped working around 11:30 a.m. EDT Monday, according to the site Downdetector.com. At around 5:40 p.m., some users were able to access the platforms, but not all functions were back.
The last time the three Facebook-owned networks went down was on March 19, 2021 and on that occasion it took a couple of hours for the sites to regain proper functionality.
Why Did Facebook Website Go Down?
Facebook said late Monday that “the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change” and that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result.”
In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, Facebook said: “To everyone who was affected by the outages on our platforms today: we’re sorry. We know billions of people and businesses around the world depend on our products and services to stay connected. We appreciate your patience as we come back online.”
Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer also issued another apology to users on Twitter: “Facebook services coming back online now – may take some time to get to 100%. To every small and large business, family, and the individual who depends on us, I’m sorry.”
Facebook‘s internal systems used by employees also went down. The company did not say what might be causing the outage, and while it can be normal for websites and apps to suffer outages, one on a global scale is rare.
Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik Inc., said it appears that the routes Facebook advertise online that tell the entire internet how to reach its properties are not available.
Madory said it looks like the DNS routes that Facebook makes available to the networking world have been withdrawn. The Domain Name System is an integral element of how traffic on the internet is routed. DNS translates an address like “facebook.com” to an IP address like 22.214.171.1240. If Facebook‘s DNS records have disappeared, no one could find it.
Consequences of Facebook Going Down
Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth dropped fallen by more than $6 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people, after a whistleblower came forward and outages took Facebook Inc.’s flagship products offline.
A selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting 4.9% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15% since mid-September.
when the company announced it was coming back online, Facebook saw estimated total lost revenues of roughly $99.75 million, based on Fortune estimates.
The figure is based on Facebook’s second-quarter earnings, which saw revenue of $29.08 billion over a 91-day period. That works out an average of $319.6 million per day or $13.3 million per hour. (The figure does not account for peak traffic periods or days of the week.)
The company’s stock also took a separate beating Monday, following a whistleblower report that Facebook routinely chose ‘profit over safety.’ It closed down about 4.9%. A former Facebook product manager, leaked internal papers to The Wall Street Journal, revealing the company’s understanding of the harms caused by its products and policies. On Sunday, Haugen made his first public appearance on “60 Minutes.”
Haugen also filed anonymous complaints with federal law enforcement, alleging that Facebook’s own research shows how it amplifies hate and misinformation, increases polarization and that Instagram, in particular, can harm the mental health of teenage girls.
The Journal’s stories, called “The Facebook Files,” painted a picture of a company focused on growth and its own interests over the public good. Facebook has tried to play down the research. Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of policy and public affairs, wrote to Facebook employees in a memo Friday that “social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate plays out.”
How do you know if your WhatsApp is down?
Sending a message using WhatsApp is the simplest way to see if it is down for you. You’ll note that instead of the typical ticks to show that the message has been sent, there’s a clock symbol to signify that the message is awaiting delivery.
Why did WhatsApp go down?
WhatsApp users were updated on Twitter, but it was to acknowledge that there was a problem, not to say why the service was down.
“We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment,” WhatsApp tweeted. “We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible.”