Facebook, Instagram And Whatsapp Down Issues With World’s Biggest Websites And Messaging App

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Facebook, Instagram And Whatsapp Down | Issues With World’s Biggest Websites And Messaging App

The world’s biggest websites are being hit by a series of outages in a significant global internet problem.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more are all suffering from problems that are stopping people getting online through websites and apps.

It is not clear if the outages are connected. But they all mysteriously began at the same time, and are being felt across the world.

Here’s our latest round-up to get you up to speed on everything’s not working

Websites, apps and social media channels hit by major outage

Many of the world’s biggest websites have stopped working, in what appears to be a linked outage taking place across the world.

A strange thing about the current outage is that it follows major problems with Gmail and other Google products overnight. Again, it’s not clear that any of these things are necessarily connected yet – but it’s certainly been a very difficult day for the people who make sure websites are online, whatever is happening.
Facebook has acknowledged the problems, though it’s given no detail on what is causing them or when they might be fixed.
“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps,” it wrote. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”
They’ve been ongoing for an hour and they’ve not said anymore, either.
As well as the wide variety of websites that are suffering issues, Down Detector is now showing people having problems with Century Link, the US internet and TV provider.
Facebook has confirmed that what’s happening is not a DDoS attack, though it hasn’t said what it actually is.
A DDoS attack – short for distributed denial of service – is when a whole host of computers all send traffic at one particular place in the internet, overloading it and (if successful) taking it offline.
Facebook’s denial that it is one means that it could be a whole host of other things: a problem with its own servers, its code or an issue with another part of the infrastructure of the internet.
It does however seem to make it less likely that something intentional is going on, such as an attack by hackers or a state actor.
The rumours about a DDoS attack appear to have come from one Twitter user, though it would also be one of the obvious explanations for such an extreme, immediate and widespread outage.
(Facebook’s statement that the outage is “not related to a DDoS attack” isn’t going down well on Twitter. Just about every reply is from someone conspiratorially (and baselessly) suggesting that them saying so actually means that it is something to do with a DDoS attack.)
The outage appears to be getting worse, according to Down Detector. Facebook, Instagram and to a lesser extent WhatsApp are all still having big troubles; other non-Facebook apps including Twitter seem to be having problems as well.

It’s important to note that not everyone is having these problems: some people can still get on Facebook, Instagram and the other affected services, and some of them can do so without any problems at all. It’s not clear what’s deciding if you can or can’t.

The problems at WhatsApp – which had been a relatively minor part of the issues, and dwarfed by Instagram and Facebook – are getting much worse.  Down Detector shows reports of problems at WhatsApp are surging:

Though the problems are not hitting everyone, they are being felt just about everywhere. Here’s the Instagram map:

(Those places like Asia that don’t have as many reports are probably just asleep.)
All of the other, non-Facebook websites that were having problems earlier – Etsy, the US Postal Service – appear to have mostly fixed themselves.
They might have just been a very neat coincidence, and suffered a relatively normal and quick outage at the same time as Facebook.
We know, though, that the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outages are more severe, and appear to be connected to each other. And they’re still very much ongoing.
Just to confirm: same problems, still very much happening, at Facebook and Instagram (and WhatsApp though apparently to a leaser degree).
All of the Facebook apps are still bad, and perhaps getting worse. Here’s another map, just so you can see how widespread these things are.

A strange and unpredictable part of tonight’s outage is that it has been scored by rappers saying strange things about social media.
The official Facebook account first tweeted that it was aware of the problems three hours ago. (And even at that time, the issues had been ongoing for a while.)
The last post it did was two hours ago. Then it said was that it was not suffering a DDoS attack, and that it was working to fix the issues.
The problems are still ongoing and the account hasn’t posted since.
Verizon, Spectrum and AT&T all seeing increased reports of problems, though that might be because people assume the issue is with their carrier, not the websites they’re trying to use them to get to.
A quick rundown of where we are now, if you’re just tuning in:
  • Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and (apparently to a lesser extent) WhatsApp are all down.
  • The problems have been ongoing for hours, and  Facebook says it is working hard to fix them.
  • Other sites were hit by outages at the same time, but that appears to be coincidental. Those affected – Etsy, the US Postal Service – are back online.
  • Facebook has denied that it is undergoing a DDoS attack – but has not said what is happening, and we’ve not heard from them for hours.
A representative from Network company Netscout has been in touch, claiming to know the cause of today’s problems. Get settled in, because this explanation from Roland Dobbins, the company’s principle engineer, is a little long and very complicated. I’ll do my best at translating it afterwards.
“At approximately 12:52PM EST on March 13th, 2019, it appears that an accidental BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP, which was then propagated onwards to some peers and/or downstreams of the transit ISP in question, resulted in perceptible disruption of access to some well-known Internet properties for a short interval.  While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis.”
When he says BGP he means “Border Gateway Protocol”. That’s one of the many bits of technology that acts as the infrastructure for the internet: it’s a kind of routing system, or a series of signs that point internet traffic around to where they need to go. And so what Netscout is saying is that those signs got mixed up by an ISP (or internet service provider), which ended up sending traffic to the wrong place. That started propagating out across the internet – like if a road sign was pointing the wrong way, and then cars started following other cars down that mistaken path – making it into a major problem. And from there, he says, our issues arrived.
Dobbins says this one isn’t malicious. But that same process has been hijacked many times before in malicious ways, and can be used to create the kind of disruption we’ve seen here.
I hope that all makes sense!
Source: Independent