Social media giant Facebook and its owned applications WhatsApp and Instagram have went down simultaneously in several parts of the world. The outage estimated to have started around 9 PM IST as many users took to Twitter to complain of not being able to use any of the three services.
“Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can,” a message on the Facebook website said. Outages are not uncommon for social media sites but to have so many interconnected apps at the world’s largest social media company go down at the same time is rare. Interestingly, Facebook’s entire network of services went offline when its spokesperson Antigone Davis was live on CNBC defending the company over a whistleblower’s accusations and its handling of research data suggesting Instagram is harmful to teens
On WhatsApp’s Twitter account, the company posted: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!”
A Twitter account for Instagram published the message: “Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown.”
“We are aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Online network experts speculated the outage may involve an error with DNS, or the domain name system, for Facebook sites. DNS is often compared to an address book or phone book for the internet, pointing web browsers to the computer system which serves the website they are looking for.
John Graham-Cumming, the chief technology officer of Cloudflare, a web infrastructure company, said in a Twitter post that Facebook and related properties “disappeared from the Internet in a flurry of BGP updates.”
— John Graham-Cumming (@jgrahamc) October 4, 2021
Brian Krebs, an independent investigative journalist, also said that DNS records that tell systems how to find facebook and Instagram websites got withdrawn this morning from the global routing tables.
Confirmed: The DNS records that tell systems how to find https://t.co/qHzVq2Mr4E or https://t.co/JoIPxXI9GI got withdrawn this morning from the global routing tables. Can you imagine working at FB right now, when your email no longer works & all your internal FB-based tools fail?
— briankrebs (@briankrebs) October 4, 2021
Facebook, however, has not stated what may be causing the problem or when those sites, including Messenger and WhatsApp, will be operational again,
Microblogging platform Twitter was abuzz with tweets about the outage as netizens shared posts and memes about the outage. India has one of the highest number of users of Facebook as well as its other platforms. As per government data shared earlier this year, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook users and 21 crore Instagram users.