Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp come back online after outage

Problems surfaced around noon eastern time on Monday

Zoe Christen Jones – CBS News

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp appeared to be back online Monday after an outage that lasted more than six hours. Facebook acknowledged the issue but did not say why its websites and applications had been down.

Reports on DownDetector.com suggest the outages began around 12 p.m. ET. Facebook’s employees were also unable to use the company’s internal email on Monday, a source told CBS News. 

“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry,” Facebook said on Twitter. “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.”

Mike Schroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer, also tweeted an apology, saying the company had been experiencing “networking issues.”

“Facebook services coming back online now — may take some time to get to 100%,” he added. “To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry.”

In 2019, Facebook experienced a similar outage that lasted for several hours. The following day, the company said a “server configuration change” was to blame.

Nick Merrill, who runs the Daylight Security Research Lab at the University of California Berkeley, said all signs point to a human error in the system configuration rather than a coordinated cyberattack. He said Facebook, which is estimated to own and operate at least 15 data centres, may have to visit each site, and manually reset the system. 

“They have to actually do that, most likely, in a synchronized way so that the correct messages cascade in a sensible way to make a coherent global map of the autonomous systems again. It is a pretty delicate process,” Merrill said.  

Facebook fell along with other big tech stocks on Monday, sliding nearly 5%, and Forbes reported that Mark Zuckerberg alone lost nearly $6 billion.

The outages come the morning after “60 Minutes” aired an interview with a whistleblower who said Facebook is aware of how it amplifies hate, misinformation, and unrest but claimed the company hides what it knows. Facebook has denied the claims.  

Musadiq Bidar contributed reporting.