The Facebook app. Picture: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE
The Facebook app. Picture: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for users across the globe, the social media giant said on Monday, as it worked on restoring its services.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the issue affecting the services, but the error message on the webpage of Facebook suggested a problem with Domain Name System (DNS).

DNS allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies took down multiple websites in July.

Security experts tracking the situation said the outage could have been triggered by a configuration error, which could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

An outside hack was viewed as less likely. A huge  denial-of-service attack that could overwhelm one of the worlds most popular sites, on the other hand, would require either co-ordination among powerful criminal groups or a very innovative technique.

Facebook acknowledged users were having trouble accessing its apps but did not provide any specifics about the nature of the problem or how many were affected by the outage.

"We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience," Facebook said.

Shares of Facebook, which has nearly 2-billion daily active users, fell 5.5% in afternoon trading on Monday, inching towards its worst day in nearly a year.

Meanwhile, the social-media giant’s instant messaging platform WhatsApp was also down, as was Messenger.

Facebook has experienced similar widespread outages with its suite of apps in March and July 2021.

Several users using their Facebook credentials to log in to third-party apps such as Pokemon Go and Match Masters were also facing issues.

"If your game isn’t running as usual please note that there's been an issue with Facebook login servers and the moment this gets fixed all will be back to normal," puzzle game app Match Masters said on its Twitter account.

A former Facebook Inc. product manager, Frances Haugen, says the company failed to protect users.

The outage comes a day after Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritising profit over safety. She said the platform was not clamping down on hate speech and misinformation enough, and said her lawyers had filed at least eight complaints with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Haugen, who worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, appeared on Sunday on the CBS television programme “60 Minutes”, revealing her identity as the whistle-blower who provided the documents that underpinned a Wall Street Journal (WSJ)  investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teen girls.

Facebook has been under fire after the WSJ published a series of stories based on Facebook internal presentations and e-mails that showed the social media company contributed to increased polarisation online when it made changes to its content algorithm, failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitancy and was aware that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.



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