Facebook explains, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for, an outage that took services offline for six hours on Monday, October 4.
All three properties — Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — went down starting around 11:40AM ET Monday and remained inaccessible until they came back online some hours later.
To make matters worse, many of Facebook’s internal tools and communication systems couldn’t be accessed while the network was down. That extended the time it took to resolve the problem.
While Facebook was working to get everything up and running again, it acknowledged there was a problem but didn’t estimate when services would return.
Where did Facebook inform people about its network problems if it couldn’t post on its own site?
It went where millions of others did during the great Facebook outage of 2021: Twitter.
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
Twitter had a bit of fun with its unexpected spike in popularity by posting a cheeky tweet, which caught the attention of hundreds of famous brands and celebrities.
hello literally everyone
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021
To say the world came together during this six hour window is no understatement.
Fortunately for the businesses and advertisers that depend on Facebook, the outage wasn’t nearly as bad as the one in 2019 that impacted all three services for over 24 hours.
Now that everything is back online and working as it should, people want answers for why the apps they depend on were inaccessible for a significant amount of the work day.
While Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down speculation ran rampant that they were targets of a sophisticated hack or DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack.
Is there any truth to those rumors? Let’s look a look at the company’s official announcement.
Why Was Facebook Down on Monday October 4?
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down on Monday due to an interruption in communication between company data centers.
The interruption is said to be caused by configuration changes on the routers that coordinate traffic between the data centers.
Disruption of network traffic had a cascading effect on the way Facebook’s data centers communicate, which brought all services to a halt.
Facebook confirms it’s back online and dispels rumors that any user data was compromised:
“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”
Zuckerberg posted a brief apology on his Facebook page, stating:
“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”
How will advertisers be impacted?
Facebook confirms ads didn’t run while its sites were down, so advertisers will not be charged for campaigns they were running during that time.
Ads have now resumed and may even run on accelerated delivery Facebook’s systems recover from the outage.
What happens now?
The next step for the company is to learn more about what caused the outage, as Facebook says it’s committed to building a network that can resist these kinds of disruptions.
“We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient.”
In the future, Facebook will keep the public informed about outages on an official status page.
Featured Image: M-SUR / Shutterstock
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.