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Facebook blames 'faulty configuration change' for nearly six-hour outage

Stock MarketsOct 05, 2021 05:41PM ET
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4/4 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Facebook app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration 2/4

By Subrat Patnaik, Eva Mathews and Sheila Dang

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) blamed a "faulty configuration change https://tmsnrt.rs/3lcz40O" for a nearly six-hour outage on Monday that prevented the company's 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The company in a late Monday blog post https://engineering.fb.com/2021/10/04/networking-traffic/outage did not specify who executed the configuration change and whether it was planned.

Several Facebook employees who declined to be named had told Reuters earlier that they believed that the outage was caused by an internal mistake in how internet traffic is routed to its systems.

The failures of internal communication tools and other resources that depend on that same network in order to work compounded the error, the employees said. Security experts have said an inadvertent mistake or sabotage by an insider were both plausible.

"We want to make clear at this time 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 as many days after a whistleblower on Sunday https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-whistleblower-reveals-identity-ahead-senate-hearing-2021-10-03 accused the company of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

As the world flocked to competing apps such as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and TikTok, shares of Facebook fell 4.9%, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday. Shares rose about half a percent in after-hours trade following resumption of service.

"To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I'm sorry," Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer tweeted, adding that it "may take some time to get to 100%."

"Facebook basically locked its keys in its car," tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Twitter on Monday reported higher-than-normal usage, which led to some issues in people accessing posts and direct messages.

In one of the day's most popular tweets, video streaming company Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shared a meme from its new hit show "Squid Game" captioned "When Instagram & Facebook are down," that showed a person labeled "Twitter" holding up a character on the verge of falling labeled "everyone."

Inside a Facebook group for ad buyers, one member wisecracked after service returned that "lots of people searched today 'how to run Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) ads for clients.'"

Facebook, which is the world's largest seller of online ads after Google, was losing about $545,000 in U.S. ad revenue per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.

Past downtime at internet companies has had little long-term affect on their revenue growth, however.

Facebook's services, including consumer apps such as Instagram, workplace tools it sells to businesses and internal programs, went dark noon Eastern time (1600 GMT). Access started to return around 5:45 pm ET.

Soon after the outage started, Facebook acknowledged users were having trouble accessing its apps but did not provide any specifics about the nature of the problem or say 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 take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:AKAM) took down multiple websites in July.

On Sunday, Frances Haugen, who worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, revealed that she was the whistleblower who provided documents underpinning a recent Wall Street Journal investigation and a U.S. Senate hearing last week on Instagram's harm to teen girls.

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

Facebook blames 'faulty configuration change' for nearly six-hour outage
 

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Comments (20)
Darn Culp
Darn Culp Oct 05, 2021 6:01PM ET
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Lmao whisteblower exposes facebook and they quickly cover their butts but hey theyre already poltical contributors so theyll get a pass i guarentee it
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Oct 05, 2021 10:02AM ET
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Government is unhappy with your censorship performance. The gullible masses need better protection. We must push misinformation and hate speech purveyors into the shadows where they can better hide.
Jo Pa
Jo Pa Oct 05, 2021 9:19AM ET
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The result of racist quota hiring practices.
Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson Oct 05, 2021 1:44AM ET
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What a coincidence... Just the day before the hearing. Guess some stuff had to be deleted
Darn Culp
Darn Culp Oct 05, 2021 1:44AM ET
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FACTS and when the whistle blower started blowing also
Leo San
Leo San Oct 04, 2021 11:30PM ET
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Lies, how coincidental for fb to have outrage on same day the market is red? Simple , to bleed more!! Yall crooks and manipulative way be realized the money wont be going with u to the grave. So play fair and morals, not greeds and cover-ups. God bless and our creator see, knows, hear who is manipulating . So do good/right
Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Oct 04, 2021 11:16PM ET
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All social media is toxic, including this one.
Nirav Pathak
Nirav Pathak Oct 04, 2021 10:09PM ET
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got off Facebook long time ago. Trying to avoid Instagram now.
Meru Pet
Meru Pet Oct 04, 2021 10:03PM ET
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who cares?
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Oct 04, 2021 9:59PM ET
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Project Veritas exposed Pfizer
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno Oct 04, 2021 9:55PM ET
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Sometimes you have to shut things down so you can make sure that all the incriminating stuff is deleted properly,  That process takes time.
Grillz gryne
Grillz gryne Oct 04, 2021 9:43PM ET
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Ahmet Artu Yildirim diagnosis will call for betterment
William Smith
William Smith Oct 04, 2021 9:09PM ET
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Too bad not a 6 century outage.
Matt Brackley
Matt Brackley Oct 04, 2021 9:03PM ET
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quick turn off the algos! but we can't!
Mike Brarey
Mike Brarey Oct 04, 2021 7:08PM ET
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The world is reopening and getting used again to live offline, US tech valuations will come back to earth
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Oct 04, 2021 5:48PM ET
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Take this as an act of warfare. Don’t know witch country is testen braking down communication. Seems like a succes. What’s next. China attacks?
Kim Boon
Kim Boon Oct 04, 2021 5:48PM ET
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boycot scene for the whistleblower
David Lockshin
David Lockshin Oct 04, 2021 3:25PM ET
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It's a test
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Oct 04, 2021 2:14PM ET
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I noticed FB induces a sadness a long time ago. Their tag line, "You have more friends than you think", causes people to think, I don't have enough friends, so there's something wrong with me. That's about as seedy a business plan as it gets; making kids feel sadness, which provokes them to try to fill the sadness with more Facebook time. And, all that misery is created just to sell ads for products that, also, rarely satisfy. Happiness comes from within.
Co Gonz
Co Gonz Oct 04, 2021 2:01PM ET
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a convenient outage
Ricardo Gaspar
Ricardo Gaspar Oct 04, 2021 1:12PM ET
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someone is going to be fired
Ahmet Artu Yıldırım
Ahmet Artu Yıldırım Oct 04, 2021 1:12PM ET
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Worked in biggest tech companies and saw many such outages, but never saw someone is fired. This is teamwork job, while it harms, companies generally see outages as an opportunity to improve their system.
 
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