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Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp return online after hourslong global outage

Facebook was losing about $545,000 in US ad revenue per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.

Published: Updated:

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp started to return online late Monday, users in some countries reported, after one of the longest outages in years.

“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,” Facebook said in a tweet.

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Earlier in the day, the apps went offline for nearly six hours across the globe, Facebook said. No official statement was released, but Facebook said that “networking issues” were the cause of the outage.

But WhatsApp is still down in the United States. Instagram and Facebook servers are up and running.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Facebook said in an initial tweet.

Shortly after the outages were reported, Facebook shares fell more than 5 percent. Reuters reported that Facebook’s shares were “inching towards its worst day in nearly a year.”

“*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible,” Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer tweeted.

Amazon Web Services and US mobile phone companies also reported being down, according to Downdetector, a website which provides outage information.

In studies conducted over the past three years, Facebook researchers have found that Instagram is “harmful for a sizable percentage” of young users. (Unsplash)
In studies conducted over the past three years, Facebook researchers have found that Instagram is “harmful for a sizable percentage” of young users. (Unsplash)

Users later reported that Twitter was having issues.

Security experts tracking the situation said the outage likely was triggered by a configuration error that left directions to Facebook servers unavailable. That could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

An outside hack was viewed as less likely. A massive denial-of-service attack that could overwhelm one of the world's most popular sites, on the other hand, would require either coordination among powerful criminal groups or a very innovative technique.

One Facebook employee told Reuters that all internal tools were down. Facebook's response was made much more difficult because employees lost access to some of their own tools in the shutdown, people tracking the matter said.

Multiple employees said they had not been told what had gone wrong.

The social media giant, which is the second largest digital advertising platform in the world, was losing about $545,000 in US ad revenue per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.

Twitter jokes

McDonald’s and Twitter made light of the situation with an interaction of tweets.

Twitter also pushed out a tweet reading: “hello literally everyone.”

Read more: Ex-employee says Facebook put profit before curbing hate speech

- With Reuters