Facebook's services including its main website, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp all suffered massive outages this week that left millions around the globe unable to connect. Facebook was quiet on the outage at first, only stating that a DDOS attack did not cause the outage. With Facebook offering no real insight into what caused the outage, speculation ran rampant.
Possible causes for the outage were said to be an issue with an undersea cable or a BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP. The possibility that a BGP leak caused the outage was quickly ruled out. Facebook has now stepped up and offered the reason for the outage: it was all due to a server misconfiguration.
Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.— Facebook (@facebook) March 14, 2019
Facebook said in a tweet that it had resolved the issues as of 9:24 AM on March 14. As its systems were recovering from the outage, the social networking giant apologized for the inconvenience to users. Despite the tweet claiming all was well, responses flooded in that claimed issues were ongoing for the service with some people seeing prompts for a login code that wouldn't send and sometimes users saw an "unknown error" message.
Downdetector co-founder Tom Sanders said that by duration, the Facebook outage this week was the largest outage seen since Downdetector started in 2012. Outages aren't the only issues that Facebook and its executives are dealing with. Facebook is under criminal investigation over data sharing deals that shared data without user consent. It also faces potential FCC fines over privacy practices that could be in the billion dollar range. Facebook has said little about the investigation other than stating it is cooperating with investigators and takes the probes seriously.