Facebook explains reason behind biggest-ever outage

Facebook has restored service to its main app and Instagram, after the world’s largest social network suffered their biggest ever outage that frustrated users across the globe for close to 24 hours.

The company said the outage which, affected users across Australia, Europe, Japan, North and South America, insisted that it was not due to a “distributed denial of service” or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site.

“Yesterday, a server configuration issue made it difficult for people to access our apps and services. We are 100 percent back up and running and apologise for any inconvenience,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“We are still investigating the overall impact of this issue, including the possibility of refunds for advertisers.”

Facebook experienced their longest ever outage on Thursday. Source: AP

The DownDetector website – one of the internet’s most used sources of numbers on outages – showed the number of complaints had peaked at more than 12,000, gradually falling to about 180 in the early hours of Friday morning.

Facebook takes tens of millions of dollars of advertising revenue every day.

Millions of users were affected, and thousands took to Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday to complain under the hashtag #facebookdown. Some even called the police.

Facebook’s shares fell nearly two per cent in morning trading on Thursday.

Separately, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that US federal prosecutors were conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with more than 150 technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices, including ongoing investigations by the US Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and two state agencies in New York.

A spokesman for the social network said the company was cooperating with investigators in multiple federal probes, without addressing the grand jury inquiry specifically.

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