Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp came back online late Monday – bringing an end to a dramatic global outage that lasted almost six hours.
The platforms, all owned by Facebook, had confirmed on Twitter that they were aware of issues and were working to resolve them after thousands of people reported outages shortly around 4pm UK time on Monday.
The sites returned around 10pm, after the largest failure ever seen by Downdetector, a website which tracks online outages.
Approximately 10.6 million issues were reported around the world.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Facebook said it believes the root cause “was a faulty configuration change” and that there is “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime”.
The social media giant continued: “The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem.”
Facebook claimed configuration changes on “backbone routers” which organise traffic between data centres caused a chain of disruption, affecting the whole system.
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 took down multiple websites in July.
Facebook’s share price plummeted 4.9% amid the outage, which also came the day after a whistleblower claimed in a US interview that the company prioritises its own interests over the public good and “growth over safety”.
The issues stemmed to Facebook’s virtual reality headset Oculus too and any apps which needed Facebook logins.
Rival platform Twitter did not hesitate to mock the outage on Monday night, tweeting, “Hello literally everyone”, as social media users flocked to the platform.
When the domain for facebook.com was listed online, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also tweeted in response: “How much?”
Facebook’s portfolio was affected by outages in 2019 as well, in an incident which saw #FacebookDown, #InstagramDown and #WhatsappDown trending worldwide on Twitter after the apps were offline for more than 14 hours.
A few months prior, users of Facebook and Instagram reported being unable to open pages or sections on the apps.
The issue also affected other platforms such as Twitter amid an increase in traffic on its website and app.