Popular social media platform Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for users across the globe, the social media giant said on Monday, as it worked on restoring the services after being hit on Monday night.
The disruption, which hit Facebook’s platforms late in the afternoon, comes a day after a whistleblower accused the firm of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.
A spokeswoman for Facebook Ireland confirmed that the company is experiencing a “technical issue” that has caused its services, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, to go down. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” she said.
Facebook declined to comment on the cause but the issue is not thought to be related to a hack, and is more likely to be an internal technical fault.
Shares of Facebook, which has nearly 2 billion daily active users, opened lower after the weekend’s whistleblower report and slipped further to trade down 5.3 per cent in afternoon trading on Monday. They were on track for their worst day in nearly a year, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday.
Facebook was inaccessible because users were not being directed to the correct place by the Domain Name System. Facebook itself controls the relevant settings.
DNS allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc took down multiple websites in July.
Security experts tracking the situation said the outage likely was triggered by a configuration error that left directions to Facebook servers unavailable. That could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.
Meanwhile, the exact reason behind the outage is not clearly known yet and the platforms themselves have not mentioned it too. The error message on Facebook’s website initially showed an issue with the Domain Name System (DNS) and later it said, “Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can.” The error message about DNS was displayed on Instagram’s website too.