Facebook, the world’s largest social media, and its affiliated services, Instagram and WhatsApp, resumed the service five hours later after causing simultaneous connection failures on the 4th (local time).
The New York Times (NYT) and CNBC reported that Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Oculus services, which showed error messages from 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time, caused more than five hours of failure and gradually normalized from late in the afternoon.
A Facebook spokesman said the service is running slowly, but it may take some time before it stabilizes.
Facebook apologized for the inconvenience to users on Twitter and said, “I worked hard to restore access to applications and services and I’m happy to inform them that I’m now normalizing,” expressing gratitude for their patience.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, also apologized to users. “I’m sorry for the disability today,” Zuckerberg said in an article on Facebook. “I know how much you rely on our services to connect with people you value.”
Facebook, however, did not disclose the cause of the massive disability.
Facebook’s products and services were not the only ones that caused the disability that day. As the company’s internal business system was also paralyzed, employees were unable to block emails, internal communication networks, or even enter the office.
Facebook’s global security team informed its employees through an internal memo, “There has been a system outage that affects all of Facebook’s internal systems and tools, including security systems, internal schedules, and schedule management tools.”
Facebook’s internal communication platform, “Workplace,” also stopped working, and employees said they had difficulty calling on the mobile phone paid by the company or receiving emails from people from other companies.
There were even employees who couldn’t enter the office because the digital badge used to enter the building or conference room stopped working, and security engineers couldn’t enter the server area, making it difficult to determine the cause of the failure.
The company’s Global Security Operation Center evaluated the incident as “high risk for users, medium risk for company assets, and high risk for Facebook’s reputation,” according to an internal memo.
As a result, a few hours after the failure began, the cause of the connection failure was still unknown.
According to some employees and internal memos, security experts at the company are still trying to figure out what the fundamental problem is, NYT said.
However, two employees who requested anonymity told the newspaper that hacking cannot affect so many apps at once, and that cyberattacks did not seem to have taken place.
Security experts analyzed that it is most likely due to misconfiguration of Facebook server computers.
The NYT pointed out that the suspension of Internet services is not special, but it is very unusual for multiple apps from the world’s largest social media company to fail simultaneously.
When Facebook went bankrupt, users flocked to Twitter to complain or tease about the incident, and the hashtag “#Facebookdown” became popular.
However, NYT reported that the actual people who are hit are small business owners who find and advertise customers through Facebook, and users who communicate with friends and family through Facebook.
The number of users of Facebook and its related services worldwide exceeds 3.5 billion, soaring to half of the world’s population (7.87 billion as of September this year).
Facebook had a similar connection failure for about 24 hours in 2019 due to technical errors.
Facebook is suffering from internal research, such as being called to a U.S. Senate hearing after recent media reports that Instagram has neglected it even though it knows it adversely affects the mental health of teenage girls.