WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram back online after failure – Facebook apologizes

Mor more than six hours without Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram: An unusually long total outage hit billions of users of the online network on Monday. While Facebook initially did not comment on the causes of the malfunction, experts guessed a configuration error in the network infrastructure that made all Facebook services inaccessible.

“To put it simply: The services of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are still there – but there is virtually no link to them on the Internet,” explained Rüdiger Trost from the IT security company F-Secure to the German Press Agency. “As if someone had removed the exit signs to the” places “Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook on a freeway.”

From midnight in Central European summer time, the Facebook services were gradually usable again. The Facebook technical team apologized on Twitter: “To the vast community of people and companies around the world who rely on us, we’re sorry,” the team wrote on Twitter. “We have worked hard to regain access to our apps and services and we are happy to have them back online. Thank you for supporting us. ”

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Facebook initially did not provide any information about the cause of the failure. The technology boss Mike Schroepfer previously only spoke of “network problems”. Founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg apologized in a short Facebook post. A total of around 3.5 billion people around the world use at least one service from the Facebook group.

“Manual reset” of the server

The malfunction was so difficult to get under control that, according to the New York Times, Facebook had to send a team to its data center in Santa Clara, California to attempt a “manual reset” of the servers. That would be like pressing the reset button on your PC at home because nothing works.

On Facebook itself, in addition to the internal communication platform, digital door locks in offices and other networked technology also failed, the “New York Times” wrote. Two unnamed IT security experts from Facebook told the newspaper that a cyber attack was unlikely to trigger the problems.

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The Facebook services could no longer be used from around 6 p.m. German time. The technology boss of the cloud service provider Cloudflare, John Graham-Cumming, pointed out that users and software continue to try to control Facebook services. That ensures a massive increase in the load on other DNS services, he wrote on Twitter.

Facebook is under increased political pressure

The hour of Twitter struck just for the exchange about the failure – and the Facebook competitor was aware of this. “Hello everyone, literally,” tweeted the account of the short message service, on which countless Facebook users romped for hours to get information.

For Facebook, which is currently under increased political pressure in the USA, the failure of several hours was, as it were, an embarrassing coronation of already bad weeks. It was only on Sunday that a former employee identified herself as a whistleblower and accused the online network of putting profit above the well-being of the user. She should be questioned in the US Senate on Tuesday.

Twitter on Monday was accordingly full of jokes about how the disappearance of Facebook had made everything better in one fell swoop, including world peace. “Hopefully Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will never work again,” tweeted satirist Jan Böhmermann. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden took the opportunity to recommend the Signal chat app as an alternative that offers more privacy.

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On the malfunction platforms, users sometimes reported problems with other online services, which were initially not confirmed on a large scale.

Faults that can be traced back to network errors occur time and again on the web. In July, for example, one of them ensured that numerous websites were temporarily inaccessible. The centralization of the network infrastructure at large providers also ensures that the failure of a company can tear down as many services and websites from the network.

There was a widespread failure on Facebook in spring 2019

At the beginning of June, numerous websites around the world were unavailable for around an hour after a malfunction in one of the cloud services. At that time, the British government, the Reddit platform and the news portals of the Guardian, the New York Times, the Financial Times and the French newspaper Le Monde were affected.

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There was a widespread failure at Facebook in spring 2019, which, according to the company, was due to an error in the server configuration. However, Monday’s disruption was exceptional in its magnitude and duration.

A long-term question is whether the outage will cause Facebook advertisers to consider alternatives. Because many small businesses around the world rely on Facebook to attract customers. For them, the disruption meant lost business.

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August 30, 2021, Berlin: Armin Laschet, Union Chancellor candidate, CDU Federal Chairman and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, takes part in a press conference after the meeting of the CDU Presidium. In the meeting of the top committee of the CDU, among other things, the upcoming federal election was discussed. Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The Facebook share closed with a minus of almost five percent. Even after that, the company was still worth around $ 920 billion on the stock exchange. After the disruption was resolved, the price temporarily increased by 0.55 percent in after-hours trading.