Zuckerberg issues apology after Facebook outage

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Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger went down for millions of users, including in India, on Monday evening, as they were unable to send or receive messages on social media platforms, reports Asian Lite News

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday apologised to the millions of users who faced hours’ worth of disruption in accessing the Facebook family of apps – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – from Monday night. Expressing his regret for the inconvenience, Zuckerberg took to Facebook following the disruption to let users know that the social media platforms are gradually coming back online now and that people should be able to access it after the nearly six-hour disruption that had the social media users in a standstill.

“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger are coming back online now,” said Mark Zuckerberg from his personal account on Facebook. “Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp came back online only in the early hours of Tuesday, after nearly six hours of an outage that partially paralysed the giant social media network on the internet. The Facebook family of apps went dark on Monday evening (around noon Eastern Time), in what the website monitoring group Downdetector said was the largest such failure the platform had ever seen.

Internet entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, media magnate, philanthropist, and the co-founder of Facebook, is having a rough time with his media empire – especially in view of the high-profile lawsuits that his company is involved in as well as the recent technical snag. This outage was the second blow to the social media giant in as many days after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

Shares of Facebook, which has nearly 2 billion daily active users, fell 4.9 per cent on Monday, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks. Facebook, which is the second-largest digital advertising platform in the world, was losing about $545,000 in US ad revenues per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.

In April, Facebook and Instagram went down for millions of users for a couple of hours in various parts of the world. The outage was the second in less than a month for the social networking giant.

People took to DownDetector as they were welcomed with “sorry something went wrong” error message from Facebook and Instagram.

The outage appeared to affect Facebook’s internal websites as well, famed developer Jane Wong noted in a tweet.

Facebook shares tank

Meanwhile, shares of Facebook fell 4.9 per cent on Monday, their biggest daily drop since last November, and according to ad measurement firm Standard Media Index, Facebook was losing about $545,000 in US ad revenue per hour during the outage. Some of Facebook’s internal applications, including the company’s own email system, were also hit. Bloomberg reported that Twitter and Reddit users also said that employees at the company’s Menlo Park, California, campus were unable to access offices and conference rooms that required a security badge.

Internal routing mistake

Several Facebook employees, who declined to be named, as saying that they believed that the outage was caused by an internal routing mistake to an internet domain. The failures of internal communication tools and other resources that depend on that same domain in order to work added to the issue, they said. According to several security experts, the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram disruption could be the result of an internal mistake and added that sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible. “Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Alex Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook, told Wired that the cause of the issue is “probably a bad configuration or code push to the network management system,” “This isn’t supposed to happen,” Stamos added. “Facebook’s outage appears to be caused by DNS; however that’s a just symptom of the problem,” Troy Mursch, chief research officer of cyberthreat intelligence company Bad Packets, told Wired. The fundamental issue, Mursch says—and other experts agree—is that Facebook has withdrawn the so-called Border Gateway Protocol route that contains the IP addresses of its DNS nameservers.

Several internet infrastructure experts told Wired that the likeliest answer was a misconfiguration on Facebook’s part. “It appears that Facebook has done something to their routers, the ones that connect the Facebook network to the rest of the internet,” John Graham-Cumming, CTO of internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, said.

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