Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) suffered a global outage that began at noon on Wednesday and lasted until the early hours of Thursday morning, with some users still reporting issues at time of writing. The Facebook outage also hit other popular services owned by the company, including Instagram and Whatsapp. In pre-market trading, Facebook stock is down over 2% as the company deals with the aftermath of the record disruption.
Record-Setting Global Facebook Outage
At about noon (EST) yesterday, Facebook users across the globe began reporting issues. Some could log onto Facebook, but most people quickly learned they could not post. Others experienced error or maintenance messages. The Facebook outage proved to be global, affecting users all over the world, and it extended into the early hours of Thursday.
And it wasn’t just FB itself that was affected. All of the company’s apps and services were also impacted by the Facebook outage. Instagram, Whatsapp, Messenger and even Facebook’s Oculus VR devices were hit.
The BBC called this Facebook’s “most severe outage ever,” noting that the last time the company experienced a failure that took down services globally was in 2008. At that time it had 150 million users, compared to the 2.3 billion it claims today. At that time, Facebook also didn’t have the additional networks and services like Instagram and Oculus that have also been impacted.
At time of writing, Facebook had yet to release an official statement about the outage. However, the company did take to competing service Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR) to post several updates.
“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.”
They followed that up several hours later with:
“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.”
A San Francisco area NBC affiliate reporter tweeted that internal sources at Facebook had told him the outage was caused by overloaded databases. The company was reportedly firing up new servers even as more went down — a recovery process that ended up taking some 14 hours.
Impact on Facebook
The massive Facebook outage could not have come at a worse time for FB. The company has been under fire over privacy concerns and accusations its social media platforms were used to influence elections. Politicians have begun calling for the breakup of Facebook. And the company has faced harsh criticism over the treatment of moderators, contractors who must view the most disturbing content posted to the site and remove material that’s deemed offensive.
With a global Facebook outage, Bloomberg reports the company is being forced to look at refunds for advertisers — a bill that could hit $189 million based on estimates of daily ad revenue.
There’s the embarrassment of having to use Twitter — a competing social media platform — to update Facebook and Instagram users. And some FB users may simply have had enough. According to The Verge, Facebook Messenger competitor Telegram enjoyed a surge of new subscribers during the Facebook outage, with 3 million new users signing up in a 24-hour period.
Facebook Stock Down
It’s hardly surprising given the size — and timing — of the outage, but Facebook stock is down 2% in pre-market trading.
eep an eye on that today, because depending on factors including whether the service experiences further technical issues, the company’s official explanation, and the reaction of users and regulators to the Facebook outage, FB may be in for a rough ride.
Is It Over?
The primary Facebook outage appears to be over at this point, although from 6-9 AM there was an uptick of problem reports. For FB, the technical issue may be resolved, but the aftermath of what appears to be its biggest outage ever is just beginning.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.