Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are back online after hours of failure

New York (dpa) – Around six hours without Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram: an unusually long total failure has affected billions of users of the online network. According to Facebook, the trigger was an incorrect change in the network configuration.

The error happened on the routers that coordinated the data traffic between Facebook’s data centers, according to a blog entry on Tuesday. As a result, communication between the data centers was interrupted. This led to the failure of the services. Since internal systems and software tools were also disrupted, it was more difficult to diagnose and solve the problem quickly There were errors in the network settings. Facebook also emphasized that the group had no evidence that user data was affected in the failure. They are working on better understanding what happened.

“To put it simply: The services of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are still there – but there is virtually no link to them on the Internet,” explained Rüdiger Consolation from the IT security company F-Secure of the German Press Agency. “As if someone had removed the exit signs to the“ locations ”Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook on a freeway.”

Server manually reset

Founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg had initially apologized in a short post. A total of around 3.5 billion people around the world use at least one service from the Facebook group.

The disruption was so difficult to get a grip on that, according to the New York Times, Facebook sent a team to its data center in Santa Clara, California to attempt a “manual reset” of the servers. That would be a bit like pressing the reset button on a PC at home because nothing works Technology failed, wrote the “New York Times” on. Two unnamed IT security experts from Facebook told the newspaper that a cyber attack seemed unlikely to trigger the problems.

Users caused increased occupancy

The Facebook services could no longer be used from around 18. 00 German time. The technology boss of the cloud service provider Cloudflare, John Graham-Cumming, pointed out that users and software continue to try to control Facebook services. This caused a massive increase in the load on other DNS services, he wrote on Twitter.

Twitter’s hour struck just for the exchange about the failure – and the Facebook competitor was aware of this . «Hello everyone, literally», tweeted the account of the short message service, on which countless Facebook users romped for hours to get information.

Failure comes after whistleblower allegations

For Facebook, which is currently under increased political pressure in the USA, the failure of several hours was, as it were, a disgraceful coronation of already bad weeks. It was only on Sunday that a former employee identified herself as a whistleblower and accused the online network of putting profit above the well-being of the user. She is to be questioned in the US Senate on Tuesday.

Twitter was accordingly full of jokes about how the disappearance of Facebook made everything better in one fell swoop, including world peace. “Hopefully Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp never go back on,” tweeted satirist Jan Böhmermann. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden took the opportunity to recommend the Signal chat app as an alternative that offers more data protection.

On the malfunction platforms, users sometimes reported problems with other online services which, however, were initially not widely confirmed.

Faults are not uncommon

Faults that can be traced back to network errors occur again and again on the web. In July, for example, one of them ensured that numerous websites were temporarily unavailable. The centralization of the network infrastructure at large providers also ensures that the failure of a company can tear down as many services and websites from the network one hour was unavailable in the cloud service. At that time, the British government, the Reddit platform and the news portals of the Guardian, the New York Times, the Financial Times and the French newspaper Le Monde were affected.

Facebook had a widespread failure in spring 2019, which, according to the company, was due to an error in the server configuration. However, the disruption on Monday was extraordinary in its extent and duration.

Failure makes advertisers think

One question is whether the failure of advertisers It will make Facebook think about alternatives. Because many small businesses around the world rely on Facebook to attract customers. For them, the disruption meant lost business.

The Facebook share closed with a minus of almost five percent. Even after that, the company was still worth around 920 billion dollars on the stock exchange. The personal fortune of Zuckerberg shrank according to calculations of the financial service Bloomberg within a few hours by more than six billion dollars. With still 121, 6 billion dollars, he slipped one place back to fifth place behind Microsoft founder Bill Gates. After the disruption was resolved, the price of the Facebook share temporarily increased by 0. 36 percent in after-hours trading.

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