Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger down globally in extended service outage

Analysis of network measurements indicate a global outage of Facebook Inc. services including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger platforms from approximately 15:45 UTC 4 October 2021. The incident has been ongoing for six hours at the latest update. Service has been gradually restored after the sixth hour although the platforms remain unstable.

Why are Facebook’s services down?

Network metrics indicate a disruption to connectivity on autonomous network AS32934 owned by Facebook. The most visible impact is the loss of authoritative DNS, which prevents the company’s public services from resolving. It is likely that non-public facing Facebook services have been similarly impacted.

The root cause of the incident in not yet established, though there are indications that BGP network routes may have been withdrawn or altered, causing a knock-on impact to DNS and other servers needed to reach the services. This could be caused by server misconfigurations or datacenter problems, amongst other issues.

The disruption to Facebook’s network impacted DNS service, preventing domain name resolution of addresses including whatsapp.com

Facebook has experienced international outages previously, including major partial outage incidents on 14 April 2019 and 14 March 2019 all attributed by the company to technical errors. However, the current incident is the most severe Facebook outage on record given its extent.

Why are all Facebook services affected?

Facebook announced plans to merge its platforms in 2019 , raising concerns over the risks of centralization of social media platforms. This centralization gives the company a unified view of users’ internet usage habits, but also makes the services vulnerable to single points of failure.

Facebook has not issued a detailed incident report at the time of writing.

What is the impact of the outage?

Users in several countries initially expressed concerns over possible filtering in their countries, while others suspected their own internet connections may have been cut. Many of those affected flocked to alternative platforms including Twitter and Telegram to stay in touch.

The outage is estimated to have made a dent in the global economy exceeding $1bn US dollars.

Affected Facebook services started to come gradually back online for users around the world after the sixth hour of outages:

Previously:


Methodology

Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations are enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages generally have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.


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