Facebook is back online after its major outage

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The outage began shortly before noon ET and lasted nearly six hours before being resolved. This is Facebook’s worst outage since a 2019 incident knocked the site offline for more than 24 hours, with the downtime wreaking havoc on small businesses and creators who rely on these services for a living.

At 5:30PM ET, after failing all tests for the majority of the day, a test of ISP DNS servers via DNSchecker.org revealed that the majority of them were successfully finding a route to Facebook.com. We were able to resume normal Facebook and Instagram use a few minutes later; however, it may take some time for the DNS fixes to reach everyone.

On Twitter, Facebook communications executive Andy Stone says, “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.” Mike Schroepfer, who will step down from his post as CTO next year, tweeted, “We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible.”

The cause of the outage was not immediately clear. However, multiple security experts quickly identified a Domain Name System (DNS) issue as a possible culprit. Around 1 p.m. ET, Cisco’s internet analysis division ThousandEyes tweeted that its tests indicate the outage is caused by an ongoing DNS failure. The DNS converts website names into IP addresses that a computer can read. It’s often referred to as the “internet phone book.”

“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry,” it said. “We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.”

“I don’t know If I’ve seen an outage like this before from a major internet firm,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at network monitoring firm Kentik.

When businesses update their network configurations, they may lose internet connectivity, according to Madory. That’s what happened to Fastly, a US cloud computing firm, in June, when the global internet went down for about 50 minutes.

However, the fact that a company of Facebook’s size and resources has been offline for more than three hours suggests that there is no quick fix.

According to Roland Dobbins, principal engineer at digital security firm Netscout, Facebook will likely work to gradually restore service, and routed information “may take some time to be received and propagated globally.”

The outage occurred the morning after “60 Minutes” aired a segment in which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company is aware of how its platforms are used to spread hate, violence, and misinformation, and that Facebook has attempted to conceal that evidence. Facebook has reacted angrily to those allegations.

The interview came after weeks of reporting and criticism of Facebook following Haugen’s release of thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators and the Wall Street Journal. On Tuesday, Haugen will appear before a Senate subcommittee.

Facebook shares were down more than 5% in midday trading Monday, putting the company on track for its worst trading day in nearly a year.

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