Just as Facebook’s Antigone Davis was live on CNBC defending the company over a whistleblower’s allegations and its handling of research data suggesting Instagram is harmful to teens, the company’s entire network of services suddenly went offline. 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 apologize for any inconvenience.”
A look at Down Detector (or its Twitter account) reveals that the problems are widespread. While it’s unclear exactly why the platforms are unreachable for so many people, their DNS logs 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 choose the best route to deliver Internet traffic) have been “pulled from the Internet.”
Instagram.com displays a 5xx server error message, while Facebook’s site simply 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 deep enough to affect Facebook customers’ Workplace and, according to Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook’s internal sites.
There is no word yet from Facebook on what might be causing the problem or when those sites, including Messenger and WhatsApp, will be back up and running, but we will update this article with more information as it becomes available.