Major failure: Facebook services offline for hours

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.

While Facebook does not initially close commented on the causes of the malfunction, experts guessed a configuration error in the network infrastructure that made all Facebook services inaccessible.

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

At Facebook itself, technology boss Mike Schroepfer initially only spoke of “network problems”. Founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg apologized in a short Facebook post. A total of around 3.5 billion people worldwide use at least one service of the Facebook group.

Server manually reset

The malfunction was so difficult to get a grip on that Facebook According to the New York Times, a team had to be sent to its data center in Santa Clara, California to attempt a “manual reset” of the servers. That would be like pressing the reset button on a PC at home because nothing works.

With Facebook itself, digital door locks in offices and others are also networked in addition to the internal communication platform Technology failed, wrote the “New York Times” on. Two IT security experts from Facebook, not named, told the newspaper that a cyber attack was unlikely to trigger the problems.

Users caused increased utilization

Facebook services were from about 18. 00 clock German time can no longer be used. 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. On Tuesday she was to be questioned in the US Senate.

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, Monday’s disruption was extraordinary in its extent and duration.

Failure makes advertisers think

A long-term question is whether the failure will prompt Facebook’s advertisers to do so to 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. After the disruption was resolved, the price in after-hours trading temporarily increased by 0. 55 percent.

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