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Facebook breaks down and the Internet panics

Facebook owned Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp also broke down unexpectedly
by TR Pakistan

Social media giant Facebook, which has over two billion monthly users, was down for most of Wednesday globally. Messenger, WhatsApp and image-sharing app Instagram, which are also owned by the company, also experienced a breakdown in their services.

The rare outage ranged between two to 14 hours in many areas of the world. Some users received error messages when they tried to log in while others had limited functionality and were not able to load images or send posts.

Rival company Twitter was flooded with complaints from people who were unable to access their social media pages. Meanwhile it also became a cause for hilarity by others:

Popular website downdetector.com, which provides a real-time overview of issues and outages with online pages, was also inundated with comments regarding the outage. On Wednesday, the website showed that Facebook was down in many parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

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The cause of the outage has not been announced yet. It has been declared as the largest outage in the social networking company’s history. The last time Facebook was down was in 2008 but the website had only 150 million users then.

Facebook was forced to turn to its rival company to clarify the situation. The company issued a statement on Twitter saying, “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

Speculations ran rife that the company had been hacked or the outages were the result of a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS), a cyber-attack where the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network is disrupted by overwhelming it with superfluous requests from multiple sources. This strategy effectively makes it harder to stop the cyber-attack by simply blocking a single source. 

However, the company later added, “We’re focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack.”

Small businesses which use Facebook and its other apps to advertise and market their products complained about the breakdown as they were unable to communicate with their clients while others were quick to take advantage of the situation:

Facebook’s troubles have not ended here. The New York Times reported that the company is also currently under criminal investigation for its data deals with major technology manufacturers. The company is alleged to have given these companies access to the personal data of millions of its users.

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