The Down Detector fault tracking site recorded tens of thousands of reports for each of the services. Facebook’s own site would not load at all; Instagram and WhatsApp were accessible, but couldn’t upload new content or send messages.
The outage occurred against a backdrop of growing difficulties for the company.
During a Senate hearing on September 30, Senator Richard Blumenthal pressed Facebook’s global chief safety officer, Antigone Davis, on Facebook-owned Instagram and the platform’s potential negative impact on children, by especially young girls.
On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a segment in which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company was aware of how its platforms were being used to spread hatred, violence and disinformation, and that Facebook had tried to hide this evidence. Facebook rejected these claims.
The interview follows weeks of reporting and criticism on Facebook after Haugen published thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators and the Wall Street Journal. Haugen is due to testify before the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety and data security on Tuesday.
In his prepared testimony obtained by CNN on Monday ahead of his appearance before the subcommittee, Haugen said, “I came forward because I recognized a chilling truth: hardly anyone outside of Facebook knows what’s going on there. inside Facebook. “
Facebook declined to comment on Monday.
The fact that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all had significant issues for around six hours was a major event for many users.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an outage like this at a large Internet company,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analytics at network monitoring company Kentik.
For many people, Madory told CNN, “Facebook is the Internet for them.”
But the fact that a company the size and resources of Facebook had been offline for about six hours suggests there was no silver bullet to the problem.
“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we are sorry,” he said. “We have worked hard to restore access to our applications and services and are happy to announce that they are coming back online now. Thank you for your patience.”
“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted that communication. This disruption in network traffic has had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt, ”Janardhan said.
As services began to come back online, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page.
“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are now coming back online,” he wrote. “Sorry for the disruption today, I know how much you rely on our services to stay in touch with the people who are dear to you.”