Social media users around the world were unable to access their platforms on Monday night as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all suffered from a global outage.
At the time of writing all three platforms have been down for nearly four hours.
The platforms confirmed on Twitter they are aware of issues and are working to resolve them – but all three remained down at 8pm on Monday.
According to web service monitoring platform DownDetector, thousands of people reported outages before 5pm.
Data on its website showed that almost 50,000 people had reported the outages on Facebook.
Most complaints cited issues with the website (72%), while others were linked to issues with the server connection and the app.
More than 75,000 had complained about WhatsApp, with 43% reporting issues with the app itself, while 28% cited the server connection and 28% relating to sending messages.
More than 30,000 Instagram users also had similar complaints, with 51% relating to the app, 26% over the server connection and 23% citing the website.
A graph on the DownDetector website showed a clear spike from after 4pm.
A Facebook company spokesperson said: “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products.
“We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience.”
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
Has Facebook been hacked?
Cyber security specialist Jake Moore said there is 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.”
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.”