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WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook down: users of social media platforms face problems

Facebook.
Image credit: AFP

Dubai: Thousands of users around the world started reporting issues with WhatsApp on Monday evening. The Down Detector site, which records platform failures around the world, has recorded around 35,000 reports of the failure since 7:00 p.m. UAE time.

The site that only tracks outages by pulling together status reports from a range of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform, showed that there were more than 50,000 incidents of people reporting issues with Facebook and Instagram. Monday at 11:30 p.m., the failure on the three platforms had not been corrected. The platforms informed users on the respective Twitter channels where the issues were being addressed.

Global failure

Along with these global social media sites, Facebook’s internal systems used by employees have also declined. Service has not yet been restored. The company did not specify the cause of the outage. Websites and applications often experience outages of varying size and duration, but global downtime lasting several hours is rare.

“It’s epic,” Doug Madory, director of internet analytics for Kentik Inc. told AP. The last major internet blackout, which took many of the world’s largest websites offline in June, lasted less than an hour.

Facebook’s only public comment so far was a tweet in which it acknowledged that “some people are having trouble accessing (the) Facebook app” and that it is working to restore access. Regarding internal failures, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri tweeted that it felt like a “snowy day.”

Facebook said in a tweet: “We are aware that some people are having difficulty accessing our apps and products. We are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

What could have happened: technical problem or criminal act?

The cause of the failure remains uncertain. Malory said it appears Facebook has removed the “authoritative DNS routes” that allow the rest of the Internet to communicate with its properties. These routes are part of the Internet’s domain name system, a key structure that determines where Internet traffic should go. DNS translates an address like “facebook.com” to an IP address like 123.45.67.890. If Facebook’s DNS records disappeared, applications and web addresses would be unable to locate them.

Jake Williams, chief technical officer of cybersecurity firm BreachQuest, said that while foul play could not be completely ruled out, there was a good chance the outage was “an operational problem” caused by human error.

Madory added that there was no sign that anyone other than Facebook was responsible and ruled out the possibility that another major internet player, such as a telecommunications company, had inadvertently rewritten the major ones. routing tables that affect Facebook. “No one else has announced these routes,” Mador said.

So, experts concluded that the whole outage could be the result of an internal error, although sabotage by an insider is theoretically possible. Outside hacking was considered less likely. In contrast, a massive denial of service attack that could overwhelm one of the world’s most popular sites would require either coordination between powerful criminal groups or a very innovative technique.

Everyone is on Twitter

When these sites stopped working, memes started flooding the Twitter microblogging site. Twitter rang out from the company’s main Twitter account, posting “Hello literally everyone” as jokes and memes about the Facebook outage flooded the platform. Later, as an unverified screenshot suggesting the facebook.com address was for sale circulated, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, “How much?”

Several users using their Facebook credentials to log into third-party apps like Pokemon Go and Match Masters were also facing issues.

“If your game is not working as usual, please note that there has been a problem with the Facebook login servers and as soon as this is fixed everything will be back to normal,” said the game application from puzzle Match Masters on his Twitter account.

Facebook more in trouble

The outage comes a day after a whistleblower took to U.S. television to reveal his identity after leaking a trove of documents to authorities alleging the company knew its products fueled hatred and harmed children’s mental health.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa, worked for companies like Google and Pinterest – but said in an interview with the CBS news show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “considerably worse Than anything she had seen before. Haugen said in the interview broadcast on Sunday that “Facebook’s own research indicates that as these young women start consuming this – this eating disorder content, they become more and more depressed. . And that actually encourages them to use the app more. “

Haugen has also anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement, alleging that Facebook’s own research shows how it amplifies hate and misinformation, leads to increased polarization, and that Instagram, in particular, can be harmful to health. mental adolescent.

The Journal’s articles, titled “The Facebook Files,” paint a portrait of a business focused on growth and its own interests rather than the public good. Facebook has tried to downplay the search. Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of policy and public affairs, wrote to Facebook employees on Friday in a note that “Social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate takes place. “


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