Facebook, along with its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, on Monday, Oct. 4, experienced a global outage that has lasted more than six hours. Employees’ access to Facebook’s internal systems was also disrupted. The service has just been restored.

The outage, which began at 11:40 a.m. ET has yet to be determined by the firm. Websites and apps frequently experience outages of different magnitude and duration, but global outages lasting several hours are uncommon, AP News reported.

So far, Facebook’s sole public statement has been a tweet acknowledging that “some people are having trouble accessing (the) Facebook app” and that it is working to restore access. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said it feels like a “snow day” regarding the internal failings.

However, the impact on Facebook’s almost 3 billion users was far greater, demonstrating how much the world has come to rely on it and its properties— to operate businesses, interact with affinity communities, log on to various other websites, and even order groceries.

While foul play cannot be totally ruled out, Jake Williams, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm BreachQuest, believes the outage is most likely due to “an operational issue” caused by human error.

Madory believes there is no evidence that anyone other than Facebook is to blame. He dismisses the prospect that another large internet operator, such as a telecommunications provider, may have mistakenly modified significant routing tables that harm Facebook.

“No one else announced these routes,” said Madory.

A flaw triggered by a configuration change in Facebook’s route management system, according to computer scientists, could be to blame.

Facebook was already dealing with a significant issue after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, leaked internal papers to The Wall Street Journal, revealing the company’s awareness of the harms caused by its products and decisions. Haugen made his first public appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” show on Sunday, Oct. 3, and he’ll testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Haugen also filed anonymous complaints with federal authorities, stating that Facebook’s research indicates how it amplifies hate and misinformation, leads to more division and that Instagram, in particular, can impair the mental health of teenage girls.

The “Facebook Files” revelations in the Journal created an image of a firm that prioritized growth and its own interests over the public good. 

Facebook has attempted to downplay the findings. “Social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate plays out,” said Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president of policy and public affairs, in a message to Facebook staff on Friday, Oct. 1.

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