Facebook Inc blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage on Monday that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.
The company did not specify who executed the configuration change and whether it was planned.
Several Facebook employees who declined to be named had said earlier 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. Security experts have said an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider were both plausible.
“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change,” Facebook said in the blog. The Facebook outage is the largest ever tracked by Web monitoring group Downdetector.
The outage was the second blow to the social media giant in as many days after a whistle-blower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.
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%”.
“Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Centre 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 labelled “Twitter” holding up a character on the verge of falling labelled “everyone”. — Reported Reporting by Eva Mathews and Subrat Patnaik, with additional reporting by Tiyashi Datta, Nivedita Balu, Aakriti Bhalla, Joseph Menn, Paresh Dave and Sheila Dang, (c) 2021 Reuters