Thousands of people have been struggling to use some of their favourite social media platforms today as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have all been malfunctioning.
According to Downdetector, which monitors the position of some of the most-heavily visited websites, the issues with the social media giants were reported just before 4pm UK time.
Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, has apologised for the disruption, but little has been said about what has caused the global outage.
TikTok has also been experiencing issues, although the number of reports relating to the one billion-strong platform is meagre compared to those lodged for the other three.
The outage method Facebook users have been getting an error page when accessing the social media giant, which boasts two billion users, from their browser.
AFP via Getty Images)
While Instagram and WhatsApp users can access their apps but cannot see their latest sent or received messages.
Desperate social media users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration at being cut off from their social world for so long.
While the cause of the outage is however to be confirmed, San Francisco-based Cisco company ThousandEyes said it is because of what is known as a Domain Name Server (DNS) failure.
Facebook’s shares have fallen 5.5% following the outage, meaning its owner Mark Zuckerberg has lost $7billion in the past few hours, Bloomberg reports.
Which sites are down?
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and TikTok are the four most popular sites reported to have been having issues on Monday afternoon.
According to Downdetector, the number of reports relating to WhatsApp shot up to 75,600 just before 5pm.
Mark Zuckerberg’s social giant Facebook trailed behind with a peak of 58,000 reports, while 30,800 reports were received in relation to Instagram.
According to reports, however, other websites seem to be malfunctioning, leaving users unable to access their sets.
Below is a list of the platforms that tens of thousands have been struggling with this afternoon.
AFP via Getty Images)
- Cricket Wireless
- Several more
When did it happen ?
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The outage started at about 4pm UK time and has been current since, meaning people have been without access to some of their main communication channels for almost four hours.
None of the social giants affected have given an calculate of how long it will take for the platforms to start running again.
But WhatsApp said it will try to fix the issue “asap”, with Facebook echoed this saying they are working to solve the issue “as quickly as possible” .
When will they be back and what have the companies said?
So far the social media sites have not been able to offer an estimated time for them to return online.
Facebook took to Twitter to apologise for the outage as its communications executive Andy Stone said: “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.”
WhatsApp mirrored this as it said in a tweet: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment.
AFP via Getty Images)
“We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!”
Instagram also took to Twitter to plead with its communities to “bear with” while they work to solve the issue.
“Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown,” the tweet reads.
What are users saying?
Users have pleaded with the different social giants to get their sets back up as soon as possible so they can begin again their business.
One Instagram user went viral as she tweeted: “Guys I was flirting in my dms get instagram back up please.”
“Hi! It’s my birthday and I’m legally obligated to post pictures of balloons that state my age – please hurry! Love you,” said another.
But there were those who reacted more frantically to the outage and expressed relief at discovering that the platforms weren’t not working just for them but for users all around the world.
One said she thought she had been hacked, while one joked about how they rebooted their router five times only to discover if had nothing to do with their broadband.
This was echoed by a WhatsApp lover who said they went all the way to delete and reinstall the app multiple times in the hope it would start working again.
“I almost threw my phone”, the desperate user said while responding to WhatsApp’s statement, while several more said they tried restarting their phone but to no avail.
What do experts think has happened?
None of the affected social media giants or websites have given an official reason for the outage.
But according to Cisco company ThousandEyes it may be due to a Domain Name Server (DNS) failure.
DNS is usually compared to an address book that acts to connect browsers to the computer system serving the website they are trying to access.
ThousandEyes said in a tweet that they detected an issue just before 4pm.
“ThousandEyes tests can confirm that at 15:40 UTC on October 4, the Facebook application became unreachable due to DNS failure.
“Facebook’s authoritative DNS nameservers became unreachable at that time. The issue is nevertheless current as of 17:02 UTC,” the tweet reads.
Other experts have put the outage down to Facebook “withdrawing” its Border Gateway Protocol routes (BGP), which allow for routing information to be exchanged and brings the server to the website it’s trying to access.
Cybersecurity expert, Kevin Beaumont, wrote on Twitter: “This one looks like a pretty epic configuration error, Facebook basically don’t exist on the internet right now. already their authoritative name server ranges have been BGP withdrawn.”
That while John Graham-Cunningham from web security firm Cloudflare tweeted that Facebook had “disappeared” from the internet as it made a series of updates.
“Between 15:50 UTC and 15:52 UTC [4.50-4.52pm UK time] Facebook and related similarities disappeared from the Internet in a flurry of BGP updates,” he said.
Could it be a Cyber Attack?
Cyber security specialist Jake Moore said there is a “chance” the issue could be related to a cyber attack.
He said: “There have been many reports and I’m struggling to find out exactly what has happened- I’m reading it could be DNS related, which method there is an issue with the connection not knowing where to go to your device.
“It could well be a human error or a software bug lurking in the shadows but at any rate it is Facebook needs to do its best to mitigate the problem of causing more panic about this.
“The biggest problem is fears over a cyber attack but as we saw from Fastly in the summer I would hedge my bets on that not being the case as we’re talking about one of the biggest companies in the world, but there’s always a chance.”
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