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Facebook blames ‘faulty configuration change’ for nearly six-hour outage

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Facebook on Monday blamed a “faulty configuration change” for the nearly six-hour outage that blocked the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services like WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The company did not specify in a blog post late Monday who carried out the configuration change and whether it was planned.

Several Facebook employees told Reuters before anonymity that they believed the outage was caused by an internal mistake in how Internet traffic is routed into its systems.

Employees said the failure of internal communication devices and other resources reliant on the same network to work has compounded the error. Security experts have said that either an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider were both plausible.

“We would like to clarify at this time that 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 several days after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritizing profits over crackdown on hate speech and misinformation.

As the world turned to competing apps like Twitter and TikTok, Facebook shares fell 4.9 percent, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broad sell-off in technology stocks on Monday. Shares rose nearly half a percent in after-hours trading after the service resumed.

“For every small and large business, family and individual that depends on us, I’m sorry,” Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer tweeted.

“Facebook basically locked your keys in your car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittren, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Twitter reported higher-than-usual usage on Monday, causing some problems with people accessing posts and direct messages.

In one of the most popular tweets of the day, video streaming company Netflix shared a meme from its new hit show Suede Game, titled “When Instagram and Facebook Down,” in which a man labeled “Twitter” is on the verge of falling. But a character is shown holding it. Label “everyone.”

Inside a Facebook group for ad buyers, a member wisely said after returning the service that “a lot of people today searched ‘how to run Google ads for customers.'”

According to estimates by advertising measurement firm Standard Media Index, Facebook, the world’s largest seller of online ads after Google, was losing about $545,000 per hour in US ad revenue during the outage. .

However, Internet companies’ past downtime has had little impact on their revenue growth.

Facebook’s services, which include consumer apps like Instagram, workplace tools selling businesses and internal events, went dark at noon Eastern Time (9:30 p.m. IST). The withdrawal began at around 5:45am ET (3:15am IST).

Soon after the outage began, Facebook acknowledged that users were having trouble accessing its apps, but did not provide any details about the nature of the problem or how many users were affected.

The error message on Facebook’s webpage suggested an error in the Domain Name System (DNS), which allows Web addresses to lead users to their destination. A similar failure at cloud company Akamai Technologies led to the closure of several websites in July.

On Sunday, Frances Haugen, who served as product manager on Facebook’s civil misinformation team, revealed that she was the whistleblower who led the recent Wall Street Journal investigation and last week’s US Senate hearing on Instagram’s harms to teen girls. documents were provided.

Haugen was due on Tuesday to urge the same Senate subcommittee to regulate the company, which she plans to liken to tobacco companies, which have denied for decades that smoking caused smoking, according to prepared testimony seen by Reuters. harmed health.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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