Facebook, and other apps owned by the company such as Instagram and Whatsapp, suffered a worldwide outage for six hours straight on Monday, leaving millions of users in the dark and costing businesses millions.
Internet users across the world felt the brunt of Facebook dependency as the blackout paralysed the social media platform. Many business owners, who sell products through Instagram and Facebook ads, and communicate with customers through WhatsApp, were left out without any option.
Ironically, the world’s largest social network turned to it’s arch-rival Twitter to announce the epic outage.
The services, which all run on shared infrastructure owned by Facebook, went down at about 16:00 GMT with users beginning to gain access to the sites at around 22:00 GMT.
Downdetector, an online platform that tracks real-time information about the status of various websites and services, said it was the largest failure it had ever seen, with 10.6M problem reports globally.
In a statement on Tuesday, the social media giant said that the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.
“Our services are now back online, and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime,” Facebook said in a statement.
Mark Zuckerberg apologised to those affected by outage.
“We understand the impact outages like these have on people’s lives, and our responsibility to keep people informed about disruptions to our services. We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient,” its statement read.
According to BBC, some people reported problems using Facebook’s VR headset platform, Oculus, and other apps that require Facebook logins were also affected.
This is the second time Facebook saw such an outage. In 2019, a disruption left Facebook and its apps inaccessible across the world for more than 14 hours.
Facebook stocks plunged
As a result of the outage, Facebook’s stock price plunged 4.9 per cent on Monday, in addition to a drop of about 15 per cent since mid-September, reports Bloomberg.
On top of that, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost $7B in just a few hours and slipped to the 5th spot in the billionaires list, behind Bill Gates.
Prioritising profit over safety
The disruption comes a day after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of prioritising profit over safety repeatedly. Frances Haugen, who worked as a product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation, was interviewed by CBS on Sunday.
Haugen is the source of previously leaked documents that shed light on Facebook’s own research that showed the company was aware Instagram was negatively affecting young people.
In CBS’s 60 Minutes programme, Ms. Haugen said she left Facebook in May after becoming exasperated with the company.
“I’ve seen a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I’d seen before,” Haugen told “60 Minutes.”
The documents, reported by WSJ, revealed that Facebook executives had been aware of the adverse effects of its platforms on some young users, among other findings.
The leaks also revealed more information about the handling of moderation policies, Facebook facing a complex lawsuit from a group of its own shareholders, and much more.
According to BBC, Ms. Haugen will testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday in a hearing “Protecting Kids Online”, about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on the mental health of young users.
AOC mocks Facebook
Post Facebook outage, New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocked Facebook highlighting its monopolistic behavior.
On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez said, “It’s almost as if Facebook’s monopolistic mission to either own, copy, or destroy any competing platform has incredibly destructive effects on free society and democracy,” in response to Forbes editor José Caparroso’s tweet on Latin America.
Check out the tweet below:
According to Politico, Ocasio-Cortez voices out for breaking up big tech and supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan during her 2020 presidential campaign.
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook for engaging in an anti-competitive strategy of buying companies, including Instagram and WhatsApp, to neutralise them as potential competitors. The case was dismissed by a court. The FTC has since refiled the lawsuit.
Twitter trolled Facebook on Monday when the social media giant witnessed an epic outage. A single tweet from Twitter, “hello literally everyone,” gained almost 3.1M likes and 115.8 comments.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder, and chairman of Twitter, also jokingly offered to buy Facebook, tweeting “how much?”