SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp social platforms crashed Monday morning in a massive service outage that lasted for hours.
The outage reportedly began at 8:41 a.m. PDT and there was no immediate word from the Menlo Park-based company on the source of the outage.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook posted on Twitter. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
Instagram was displaying a “5xx server error” when access which indicates that the issue with Facebook’s servers. The outage was not only impacting outside access, but internal computer access within the company was also down.
Not only are Facebook's services and apps down for the public, its internal tools and communications platforms, including Workplace, are out as well. No one can do any work. Several people I've talked to said this is the equivalent of a "snow day" at the company.
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) October 4, 2021
Monday afternoon, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer blamed the outage on “networking issues” and said teams were working to debug and restore services as fast as possible.
*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible
— Mike Schroepfer (@schrep) October 4, 2021
The services appeared to be at least partially restored at around 3 p.m. PST, with some users reporting that they were able to access the social media services again at that time.
Schroepfer posted a subsequent update on Twitter, saying services were coming back online, but would take some time to return to 100%.
Facebook services coming back online now – may take some time to get to 100%. To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I'm sorry.
— Mike Schroepfer (@schrep) October 4, 2021
The following statement was issued by Facebook:
“To everyone who was affected by the outages on our platforms today: we’re sorry. We know billions of people and businesses around the world depend on our products and services to stay connected. We appreciate your patience as we come back online.”
According to Internet cybersecurity watchdog website NetBlocks.org, the outage had a total economic impact of $968 million on the global economy.
Facebook stock plunged on Wall Street Monday, falling 4.89% in value over the course of the day to end. The stock closed at $326.23, down nearly $17 per share.
Bloomberg reported CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth dropped by $7 billion.
KPIX spoke with a few Bay Area residents and asked how the outage affected them on Monday.
“I thought it was me, and social media is pretty much my entire job,” said one local. “We quickly googled and everything is down right now.”
“I’m not on social media. I’m the one person on the planet who is not on social media,” said another, who was far less concerned about the outage. “It’s like, being a normal human being; old school. You call or text or talk to someone face to face. Not being attached to your phone.”
There was no evidence as of Monday afternoon that malicious activity was involved. Matthew Prince, CEO of the internet infrastructure provider Cloudflare, tweeted that “nothing we’re seeing related to the Facebook services outage suggests it was an attack.” Prince said the most likely explanation was that Facebook mistakenly knocked itself off the internet during maintenance.
Facebook did not respond to messages for comment about the attack or the possibility of malicious activity.
While much of Facebook’s workforce is still working remotely, there were reports that employees at work on the company’s Menlo Park, California, campus had trouble entering buildings because the outage had rendered their security badges useless.
It’s been a difficult 24 hours for the social media giant.
While there are no indications the outage is connected, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen stepped out of the shadows on Sunday night in an interview with CBS News “60 Minutes”, shedding light on the dark, murky, troubled world surrounding the Bay Area social media giant.
Haugen, who worked at Google and Pinterest before joining Facebook in 2019, anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation.
She had asked to work in an area of the company that fights misinformation since she lost a friend to online conspiracy theories.
Quotes from the report:
On Why She Took Her Stand
“Imagine you know what’s going on inside of Facebook and you know no one on the outside knows. I knew what my future looked like if I continued to stay inside of Facebook, which is person after person after person has tackled this inside of Facebook and ground themselves to the ground.”
On The Dark World Of Social Media
“When we live in an information environment that is full of angry, hateful, polarizing content it erodes our civic trust, it erodes our faith in each other, it erodes our ability to want to care for each other, the version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world.”
On The Programming Of Facebook Algorithm
“So, you know, you have your phone. You might see only 100 pieces of content if you sit and scroll on for, you know, five minutes. But Facebook has thousands of options it could show you.”
On The Facebook Culture
“No one at Facebook is malevolent. But the incentives are misaligned, right? Like, Facebook makes more money when you consume more content. People enjoy engaging with things that elicit an emotional reaction. And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume.”