Belize City, Mon. Oct. 4, 2021– The WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram apps were globally inaccessible for a large portion of the day on Monday, October 4.
Possibilities of an external hack have been dismissed, in light of the extensive security measures of Facebook. While a denial-of-service attack (DoS) could possibly overwhelm Facebook’s servers, such an attack would require coordination amongst powerful criminal groups or an intricate DoSing or exploitation technique. This possibility has been considered improbable.
On Twitter, Facebook publicly stated, “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.”
There has been much speculation revolving around the social media outage, and at the moment, the reason for the outage remains uncertain. However, security experts have suggested that a Domain Name System (DNS) problem could be the main issue. The DNS generally enables users to access their web destinations.
Thousand Eyes, the internet analysis division of the leading cyber security company, Cisco, supported this hypothesis. It stated in a tweet, “Facebook application became unreachable due to DNS failure. Facebook’s authoritative DNS nameservers became unreachable at that time.” Experts say the disruption could have been due to an internal error by Facebook personnel, but Reuters suggests that sabotage by an insider is theoretically possible.
Some are presuming that the outage might be somehow related to a segment aired on 60 Minutes in which Facebook whistleblower and data scientist Frances Haugen claimed that Facebook is knowledgeable of how its services are used to promote and spread hate, violence and misinformation. He further suggested that the big tech company actively hides evidence to prioritize profits. Immediately after this segment was aired, Facebook’s services began to malfunction.
This interview led to weeks of unfavorable reports against the social media giant. Haugen had reportedly released numerous pages of internal documents to law regulators and the press. Haugen is scheduled to testify before the US Senate subcommittee against wrongdoings of the company on Tuesday.
Facebook services crashed around 9:42 a.m. It was not restored until after 4:00 p.m., which amounts to an outage of over six hours — the largest outage since 2008 when the site was inaccessible for almost an entire day.