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Facebook is coming back online after hours-long outage

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are working again more than six hours later.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while speaking about the new Facebook News feature at the Paley Center For Media on October 25, 2019 in New York City. Facebook News, which will appear in a new dedicated section on the Facebook app, will offer stories from a mix of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, as well as other digital-only outlets.(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer via Getty Images
Karissa Bell
Karissa Bell|@karissabe|October 4, 2021 6:04 PM

Facebook services are slowly coming back online after one of the biggest outages in recent memory. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger’s apps appear to be working again, though some of the websites are loading more slowly than usual. 

As of 6:05pm ET Monday, the "Facebook for Business Status" page was still showing "major disruptions," to the social network's core services. But that was still an improvement from earlier in the day when the website was offline entirely. 

"To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we're sorry," Facebook wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. The company confirmed its services "are coming back online now." In a post on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also apologized for the services going down. 

Zuckerberg didn’t elaborate on the cause of the lengthy outage. In an earlier tweet, the company’s outgoing Chief Technology Officer, Michael Schroepfer, cited “networking issues.”

The outage lasted more than six hours, taking down Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Oculus. It also wreaked havoc on the company internally, with employees reportedly unable to access emails, Workplace and other tools. The New York Times reported that employees were also physically locked out of offices as workers’ badges stopped working.

It also shaved billions of dollars off of Zuckerberg’s personal net worth as Facebook’s stock tanked, Bloomberg reported. Elsewhere, the company is still reeling from the fallout of a whistleblower who has accused the company of prioritizing “profits over safety.” The whistleblower was The Wall Street Journal’s primary source for several articles that details how Instagram is harmful to teens and the company’s controversial “cross check” program that allows high profile users to break its rules.

Security reporter Brian Krebs reported the outage was linked to issues with Facebook's BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) records, which prevented the company's services from being accessible. He later added it was "a routine BGP update gone wrong." DNS provider Cloudflare also cited BGP as the likely culprit, writing in a blog post that it was "as if someone had 'pulled the cables' from their data centers all at once and disconnected them from the Internet." 

Late into Monday evening, Facebook's engineering team published a blog post that attempted to explain what happened: 

"Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt."

It went on to say that the root cause of the outage was a "faulty configuration change" and there's no evidence that user data was compromised due to the downtime.  

Update 10:30PM ET: Added a statement from Facebook Engineering's blog post. 

Facebook is coming back online after hours-long outage