Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram are working again after going down for more than seven hours.
The sites sparked global outage as the massive failure saw 10.6 million people report problems around the world.
Facebook blamed a faulty configuration change for the reason users couldn’t access the social media platforms over the web or on smartphone apps.
Security experts speculated the problem came following network changes, with the cause still unconfirmed by late Monday evening.
Here’s what we know so far.
Social media sites suddenly fail
More than 72,000 WhatsApp users reported issues using the global instant messaging service from about 4pm UK time, according to DownDetector.
A total of 44 % of users experienced issues with the app, with 29% being unable to send messages.
Facebook also begins to struggle with over 55,000 users reporting issues.
Up to 70% of reports were related to the website while 18% were linked to the app.
Instagram users also appeared to have been struck by the outage with 30,000 reporting issues.
Over half of these had issues with the app, 52% while 25% had server connection problems and 23% struggled with the website.
Facebook’s share price plummeted 4.9% amid the outage, which also came the day after a whistleblower claimed in a US interview that the company prioritises its own interests over the public good.
Social media platforms confirm they are tackling the issue
Platforms were forced to use competitor site Twitter to announce the outage after reports before 5pm this evening.
Facbook’s communications executive Andy Stone said it was “working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible” and it apologised “for any inconvenience”.
Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, said on Twitter: “*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.”
Whatsapp said on Twitter: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment.
“We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.”
The reason for the mass outage has yet to be revealed by the team over at Facebook who run WhatsApp- which has over 2 billion global users alone.
Cyber attack fears grow
Cyber security specialist Jake Moore admitted there was a “chance” the issue could be related to a cyber attack.
He told the PA news agency: “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 means 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 whatever 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.”
The New York Times reported the issue likely stemmed from a misconfiguration of Facebook’s server computers, which were not letting people connect to its sites like Instagram and WhatsApp.
It said the problems appeared to be more complex and required some manual updating.
Adam Leon Smith, of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and a software testing expert, said: “The outage is caused by changes made to the Facebook network infrastructure.
“Many of the recent high-profile outages have been caused by similar network level events.
“It is reported by unidentified Facebook sources on Reddit that the network changes have also prevented engineers from remotely connecting to resolve the issues, delaying resolution.
“Notably, many organisations now define their physical infrastructure as code, but most do not apply the same level of testing rigour when they change that code, as they would when changing their core business logic.”
Users regain access to platforms
Users beginning to gain access to the sites at around 22:00.
Facebook said that the faulty configuration change affected the company’s internal tools and systems which complicated attempts to resolve the problem.
It added that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime”.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologised to those affected by the outage.
He said: “Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now.
“Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”