Facebook has apologized for the mass outage that left billions of users unable to access Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger for several hours.
“To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage across our platforms,” said Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s VP of infrastructure, in a blogpost late Monday.
The outage, which prevented users from refreshing their feeds or sending messages, was caused by “configuration changes on the backbone routers,” Janardhan said, without specifying exactly what the changes were.
The changes caused “issues” that interrupted the flow of traffic between routers in Facebook’s data centers around the world, he added.
“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” Janardhan said.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp stopped working shortly before noon ET, when the websites and apps for Facebook’s services were responding with server errors.
Just after 7 p.m. ET, around six hours after the platforms went offline, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page: “Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now.”
“Sorry for the disruption today – I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”
Approximately 80 million people were affected by the outage, making it the longest outage Facebook has had since 2008. Almost 3 billion people are using the platform right now.
A similar outage occurred in 2019 and lasted for around one hour. This disruption was caused, according to Facebook, by a change in the server setup.
A day before the outage, an anonymous whistleblower had revealed herself ahead of a “60 Minutes” interview, revealing private internal research to the Wall Street Journal and Congress. For starters, papers obtained by The Wall Street Journal told that Facebook officials were aware of the negative effects of Instagram among younger users and that the company’s algorithm encouraged the dissemination of false information.
Facebook’s stock price fell about 5% on Monday, but it rose more than 1% in Tuesday’s pre-market trading.