FACEBOOK has blamed itself for a major outage that caused many of its apps to crash for users around the world.
Apps including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp stopped working for around 12 hours yesterday – with some suspecting that the tech giant had been hacked.
But Facebook now says that it was its own development team that caused the incident.
“Yesterday, we made a server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Sun.
“As a result, many people had difficulty accessing our apps and services.
“We have resolved the issues, and our systems have been recovering over the last few hours.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience and we appreciate everyone’s patience.”
Facebook – and partner apps Instagram and WhatsApp – went offline for many users at around 4pm yesterday.
It sparked online panic as social media users found themselves unable to make or view new posts.
In a tweet sent during the outage, Facebook wrote: “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
A tweet (since deleted) by Derek Gannon, who reports on terrorism, soon went viral with the claim that Facebook data seemed to suggest the site was being targeted by a DDoS attack from a “nation state”.
A DDoS, or distributed denial of service, is when hackers flood a website’s servers with information, overloading them and taking the website down.
But Facebook later confirmed that this was not the case.
“We’re focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack,” Facebook explained in a tweet.
A Facebook spokesperson separately confirmed to The Sun that the outage was not related to a DDoS.
NBC’s Raj Mathai later reported that an internal Facebook source had pinned the outage on “database problems”, suggesting that the systems had been overloaded.
“We are racing to spin up new machines as others go down. Mostly resolved…but it takes time,” the source is quoted as saying.
In any case, the outage is being dubbed as Facebook’s “biggest outage ever”, taking potentially billions of people offline for hours.
Facebook and Instagram users were unable to load their news feeds, while Messenger users reported being unable to send messages.
And WhatsApp also seemingly experienced issues, with some users complaining that photos and videos weren’t sending.
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