Just as Facebook’s 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, the company’s entire network of services suddenly went offline. The outage started just before noon ET, and nearly four hours later there’s no sign or restoration, and no one from the company has offered an explanation of the issues or estimates for when they will be fixed.
On Twitter, Facebook communications exec 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.”
A peek at Down Detector (or your Twitter feed) reveals the problems are widespread. While it’s unclear exactly why the platforms are unreachable for so many people, their DNS records show that, like last week’s Slack outage, the problem is apparently DNS (it’s always DNS).
Cloudflare senior vice president Dane Knecht notes that Facebook’s border gateway protocol routes — BGP helps networks pick the best path to deliver internet traffic — have been “withdrawn from the internet.” While some have speculated about hackers, or an internal protest over last night’s whistleblower report, there isn’t any information yet to suggest anything malicious is to blame.
*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible
— Mike Schroepfer (@schrep) October 4, 2021
Instagram.com is flashing a 5xx Server Error message, while the Facebook site merely tells us that something went wrong. The problem also appears to be affecting its virtual reality arm, Oculus. Users can load games they already have installed and the browser works, but social features or installing new games does not. The outage is thorough enough that it’s affecting Workplace from Facebook customers and, according to Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook’s internal sites.
Update October 4th, 3:37PM ET: Added additional information about the ongoing outage.
Update October 4th, 4:10PM ET: Added statement from Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer.