October 23, 2021

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Facebook, Instagram Were Down For Six Hours After Whistleblower Went Public



UPDATE: Oct. 5, 2021, 11:52 a.m. AEDT Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are finally back up after a six-hour outage, though whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your point of view. Predictably, reactions have been mixed.

UPDATE: Oct. 4, 2021, 5:47 p.m. EDT Facebook is finally getting some of its platforms back online. Some users are reporting that Facebook and Instagram’s websites are starting to resolve and newsfeeds are beginning to load again.

Meanwhile, Cloudflare has just posted a deep dive explainer into what actually happened to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp today.

Our original story follows…


No, it’s not just your internet connection.

Facebook and Instagram are indeed facing widespread outages.

The downtime isn’t only affecting the social network and the photo sharing service either. Users are experiencing issues with the company’s other platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well, according to Downdetector.

Workplace, Facebook’s internal communications platform, is effected by the downtime as well. Facebook employees told the New York Times that it was difficult to get work done in the company without Workplace, equating today to a “snow day.”

(Note: Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis, owns DownDetector. Mashable’s parent company, J2, uses Workplace for internal communications as well.)

SEE ALSO: We tested popular VPNs to see which was fastest. Here’s what we found.

These outages come just one day after a bombshell 60 Minutes interview with current Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who was unveiled to be the whistleblower behind a trove of leaked documents detailing public safety issues with the company.

The hashtags #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown are currently trending on Twitter.

Mashable will update this piece with a response from Facebook about what caused the downtime.

UPDATE: Oct. 4, 2021, 5:17 p.m. EDT If you can believe it, Facebook and its various platforms are still completely down.

In fact, according to NetBlocks, today’s downtime is “the most severe Facebook outage on record.”

The organization, which monitors online rights and internet governance, estimates that the global economy suffers $160 million in losses for each hour that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down.

As for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Bloomberg reports that he’s lost $7 billion due to a selloff on the stock market due to the outage.

If you’ve come across reports of hacking or other nefarious causes for Facebook’s downtime, don’t believe it. At this time, the reason appears to solely be related to server issues.

According to the New York Times, Facebook has sent a “small team” to one of its California data centers to manually reset its servers.

The issue is not only effecting Facebook’s email and internet communications tools, but it also apparently prevented employees from physically entering the office due to the badge system not working.

According to Cloudflare Senior Vice President Dane Knecht, it appears Facebook is facing DNS issues.

Knecht explained on Twitter that Facebook’s “DNS and other services are down” and its Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes have been “withdrawn from the internet.”

Usman Muzaffar, SVP, Engineering at Cloudflare released the following statement to Mashable:

This morning we saw that Facebook’s service was unavailable—it appears to still be unavailable. This is not a Cloudflare issue and our systems are operating normally. We saw this happen right away because we run one of the world’s largest DNS resolvers. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like facebook.com and DNS converts it into numbers, called an IP address, computers use. 

From what we understand of the actual issue —it is a globalized BGP configuration issue. In our experience, these usually are mistakes, not attacks.

Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is the routing protocol for the Internet. Much like the post office processing mail, BGP picks the most efficient routes for delivering Internet traffic. Today, the directions for how to get to Facebook’s DNS server’s addresses weren’t available (and seem to still be unavailable). Without being able to contact the DNS servers, visitors trying to reach a Facebook property, like facebook.com, will not get an answer and so the page won’t load.

UPDATE: Oct. 4, 2021, 12:17 p.m. EDT Facebook Communications Director Andy Stone tweeted an update saying that the company is “aware” of the issue causing outages to its products and they are working to fit it.





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