Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram Online After Hourslong Outage

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
October 4, 2021 Updated: October 4, 2021

Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram appear to be back online after an outage that lasted several hours on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, when one tried to access Facebook, it returned a message: “This site can’t be reached,” adding that the website’s DNS address couldn’t be found. Instagram merely displayed the message: “5xx Server Error.”

But at around 5:45 p.m. ET, Instagram and Facebook appeared to be back online for many, according to Downdetector.com.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook wrote on Twitter at around 12:30 p.m. New York time. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Hours later, at around 3 p.m., the company’s outgoing chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, wrote that the firm is still working to fix the issue.

“*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook-powered services right now,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible.”

Twitter, YouTube, iMessage, Signal, and other popular services not operated by Facebook were still working as of noon on Oct. 4. However, some Twitter users reported problems—namely with their replies.

Some speculated that Facebook suffered major DNS—or Domain Name System—as well as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) failures. DNS essentially translates domain names to IP addresses required for locating and identifying computer services and devices.

“By not having BGP announcements for your DNS name servers, DNS falls apart = nobody can find you on the internet. Same with WhatsApp btw. Facebook have basically deplatformed themselves from their own platform,” wrote Kevin Beaumont, former head of security operations at Microsoft, in a Twitter post.

In afternoon trading, Facebook shares were down by about 5 percent.

In March 2019, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram were down for more than 24 hours worldwide in one of the longest outages the company has faced in years.

The outage on Oct. 4 comes as two members of the European Parliament called for an investigation into allegations by a whistleblower that Facebook prioritized profits above the public good.

The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who had worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, shared internal documents with newspapers and attorneys general from several U.S. states. Haugen will testify in front of the Senate on Oct. 6.

“The Facebook Files—and the revelations that the whistleblower has presented to us—underscores just how important it is that we do not let the large tech companies regulate themselves,” said Danish lawmaker Christel Schaldemose.

“The documents finally put all the facts on the table to allow us to adopt a stronger Digital Services Act,” Alexandra Geese, a German lawmaker at the European Parliament, said. “We need to regulate the whole system and the business model that favors disinformation and violence over factual content—and enables its rapid dissemination,” she said.

A Facebook spokesperson issued a response to the claims, saying the firm has to make “difficult decisions.”

“Every day, we make difficult decisions on where to draw lines between free expression and harmful speech, privacy, security, and other issues,” the spokesperson said. “But we should not be making these decisions on our own. … We’ve been advocating for updated regulations where democratic governments set industry standards to which we can all adhere.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.