Many people may have headed for their nuclear winter bunkers or started dipping into their doomsday prepper kits yesterday. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the world remained after the Facebook outage that lasted for a great part of the day on Wednesday. What made the outage particularly interesting was that the outage wasn’t localized strictly to Facebook, but their family of social media properties, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 14, 2019
The Facebook outage, which plagued Facebook’s flagship service as well as Facebook-owned properties Instagram and WhatsApp, lasted for nearly 14 hours, according to CNN. DownDetector, a website that allows users to report when a service isn’t working, first started receiving a flood of reports starting around 12:01PM ET. The site received thousands of reports of issues each hour from users around the world, peaking at over 12,000 around 9:00PM ET.
Facebook first publicly addressed the issue Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging in a tweet that “some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps.” The company also quickly dismissed concerns that the outage was the result of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The acknowledgment came at 1:49PM ET, and it would be 11 hours until the issue was finally resolved. At 12:41AM ET Thursday morning, Instagram confirmed it was back online via Twitter.
It has been a long time since there has been a Facebook outage, this was the second noteworthy instance in recent months. Back in November, the company had a similar issue that left Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp inaccessible for some users. That outage was the result of a “routine test,” according to the company.
Even though an outage is rare for companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Google – a thought of a DDoS attack against the social media platform seemed a bit of a stretch. Much of their issues have been self-inflicted so this must have been a nice distraction for the company.