Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram begin to return after a major, worldwide outage

Facebook, WhatsApp,Instagram

 About six hours after Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were shut down, the service began to come back online, though coverage was still spotty.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram begin to return after a major

Facebook (FB), Instagram and WhatsApp were all shut down on Monday afternoon, according to public statements from the three Facebook services.

Outage tracking site Down Detector recorded thousands of reports for each service. Facebook's own site won't load at all; Instagram and WhatsApp were accessible, but could not load new content or send messages.

The outage came amid growing difficulties for the company.

In a Senate hearing on September 30, Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Facebook-owned Instagram stressed Facebook's global security chief Antigone Davis and the platform's potential negative impact on children, especially young girls.

Instagram promoted pages glorifying eating disorders in teen accounts

Instagram promoted pages glorifying eating disorders in teen accounts

On Sunday, "60 Minutes" aired a segment in which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed that the company is aware of how its platform is used to spread hate, violence and misinformation, and that Facebook Tried to hide evidence. Facebook has pushed back those claims.

The interview followed weeks of reporting and criticism about Facebook, after Haugen released thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators and the Wall Street Journal. Haugen is set to testify Tuesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security.

In his prepared testimony obtained by CNN Monday before his appearance before the subcommittee, Haugen said, "I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook."

Facebook declined to comment on Monday.

The fact that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all experienced significant issues for around six hours was a big deal for many users.

"I don't know that I've seen an outage like this before from any major Internet firm," said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at network monitoring firm Kentuck.

For a lot of people, Madori told CNN, "Facebook is the internet for them."

Madori said companies sometimes lose Internet connectivity when they update their network configurations. That's what happened in June with US cloud computing firm Fastly, which experienced a global Internet outage for about 50 minutes.

But the fact that a company of Facebook's size and resources was offline for nearly six hours suggests that there was no quick fix to the issue.

Facebook tweeted just after 6:30 p.m. ET that its apps and services were back up and running.

"To the vast community of people and businesses around the world that depend on us: We are sorry," it said. "We are working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report that they are now back online. Thank you for working with us."

Later on Monday, Facebook's VP of Infrastructure Santosh Janardhan issued a statement saying that the company "regrets for the inconvenience caused by today's outage on our platform."

“Our engineering teams learned that this communication was interrupted due to a configuration change on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers. This disruption in network traffic had a massive impact on the way our data centers communicated , thereby giving our services a wait,” Janardhan said.

Janardhan said the company has "no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime."

Earlier, several security experts had pointed to a Domain Name System (DNS) problem as a possible culprit. At around 1 a.m. ET, Cisco's Internet analysis division ThousandEyes said on Twitter that its tests indicated the outage was due to a DNS failure. DNS converts website names into IP addresses that can be read by the computer. It is often called the "phonebook of the Internet".

More than four hours after the outage began, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer tweeted: "We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as quickly as possible to debug and restore.

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