- Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down at around 11.50am EST on Monday and remain broken
- All went dark after a ‘flurry’ of changes to the system that allows people to access its sites on the internet
- The damage is believed to have been caused by an internal error rather than any malicious attack
- It remains unfixed with escalating damage done – already the outage is estimated to have cost $160million
- Facebook won’t say what caused the outage or how long it will last but experts say it will be a mammoth task bringing the networks back online
- The outage sparked panic among businesses that rely on the site – and humor on rival site Twitter
- There were initial reports that telecommunications networks were also down but those were driven by people being unable to use the apps on their mobile devices
Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer offered his ‘sincere apologies’ on Monday afternoon as a global outage of the website along with Instagram and WhatsApp stretched into its fifth hour, costing the company $50billion and CEO Mark Zuckerberg $7billion and counting.
The cause of the outage is believed to have been changes made to Facebook’s systems at 11.50am EST.
It is believed they were caused in error and were not a cyber attack, but Facebook is yet to confirm the cause of the outage.
It sparked global outages that are detrimental to online businesses and decimate the company’s ad-wielding power.
At 3.50pm, four hours after the outage began, CTO Mike Schroepfer tweeted: ‘*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible.’
The cause of the outage is believed to be changes made to Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol.
The BGP allows for the exchange of routing information on the internet and takes people to the websites they want to access by helping them identify them on what is known as a domain naming system – a directory of websites.
Facebook’s changes included withdrawals which removed its properties from the domain naming system it operates and essentially made it impossible for anyone to connect to the sites because they could no longer be found online.
As the company scrambled to fix the issue, share prices fell by more than 5 percent, reducing the company’s total value from $967billion on Friday afternoon to $916billion by Monday’s closing bell. Zuckerberg’s stake shrank by $7billion.
Facebook is yet to confirm the cause of the outage or give any glimpse of how long they think it may last.
A New York Times reporter tweeted that staff at an unspecified Facebook office were unable to use their keycards to gain access to the premises on Monday. It’s unclear if that is related to the outage or not.
NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages and their impact, estimate the outage has already cost the global economy $160m (£117 million).
Experts say that even once the problem is fixed, it will be a nightmare task rebooting the system because it is so large.
By JENNIFER SMITH and STACY LIBERATORE