Facebook on Monday blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage that took down its service, WhatsApp, and Instagram, Reuters reports.
The company in a blog post apologized for the outage but did not say who was responsible or whether it was the result of a planned change.
“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,” the company’s blog post said.
“We want to make clear that there was no malicious activity behind this outage — its root cause was a faulty configuration change on our end,” the statement added. “We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”
Biggest outage ever:
The outage, which also affected all other Facebook-owned services, is the largest ever measured by Downdetector.
Facebook shares fell by 5% amid the outage though they increased slightly after service resumed.
"To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I'm sorry," Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said on Twitter, adding that it "may take some time to get to 100%."
The company lost about $545,000 in ad revenue per hour during the outage.
The resumption of service was delayed because the outage also locked Facebook employees out of their internal systems.
"Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” said Jonathan Zittrain, who heads Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
The outage came just one day after former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen appeared on “60 Minutes” to detail her whistleblower revelations.
“Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” said Haugen, who also testified to Congress on Tuesday.
Haugen explained that Facebook’s algorithm amplifies hate, violence, and misinformation because those types of content get higher user engagement.
She also said Facebook prematurely shut off safeguards to battle misinformation after the election, which she said contributed to the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
“No one at Facebook is malevolent,” Haugen said. “But the incentives are misaligned, right? Like, Facebook makes more money when you consume more content. people enjoy engaging with things that elicit an emotional reaction. And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume. “