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Technology

Facebook’s global outage was caused by ‘a server configuration change’

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2018, file photo the icons of Facebook and WhatsApp are pictured on an iPhon
Facebook and WhatsApp, along with Messenger and Instagram, suffered outages this week.
(Martin Meissner / Associated Press)
Washington Post

Facebook Inc.’s global outage — which hit users of its namesake social network as well as sister services Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — is winding down, the company announced Thursday.

The issue was caused by “a server configuration change” and is now resolved, “and our systems are recovering,” Facebook said on Twitter on Thursday morning, a full day after the problem began.

During the outage, many users had trouble logging in or accessing the services. The bulk of the problem was resolved after about 12 hours. “Anddddd... we’re back,” Instagram said Wednesday night on Twitter alongside a GIF of a jubilant Oprah Winfrey.

According to the website Downdetector, Facebook’s outage spanned the globe, with reports of disruptions concentrated on the United States’ East Coast and in Britain.

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Facebook estimates that 2.7 billion people use its apps, with more than 2 billion posting and messaging on its services every day. The outage prompted exasperation from business owners and other people who rely on Facebook’s platforms to communicate, and it inspired a flood of derision on Twitter, where some users migrated to stay connected.

The prolonged disruption could have financial consequences for the company. Facebook product director Rob Leathern said on Twitter that people were also unable to access the social network’s ad interfaces, which may exacerbate any lost revenue from the outage. The company has raised the possibility of issuing refunds to advertisers.

Compounding Facebook’s woes was a report about a federal criminal investigation into the company. The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported late Wednesday that a grand jury has issued subpoenas as part of an investigation into Facebook’s data-sharing deals.

Facebook’s stock was down 1.7% at $170.40 a share around 9:50 a.m. PDT on Thursday.

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