All of Facebook’s major sites — including Instagram, WhatsApp, and the Facebook feed itself — are offline today. Even Facebook’s internal employee social network is down. Users began to notice the outages just after 11:30 a.m. EDT and, as of the time of this writing, the sites have not yet come back online. It later emerged that Facebook’s entire domain registration has been wiped from the internet.
It’s unclear why Facebook’s entire suite of apps is down. The company tweeted at 12:22 p.m. that it is aware of the problem and working to implement a fix “as quickly as possible.”
Some internet sleuths have detected issues with Facebook’s DNS servers and say this alone could be enough to keep the sites dark. The internet is much quieter than usual this Monday — and there’s a chance that’s Facebook’s fault.
It’s all gone — All of Facebook is down, as far as we can tell, everywhere. Users are reporting that Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp are unavailable from desktop and mobile browsers, as well as through each individual app.
One popular theory as to why the sites are down: DNS problems. Two servers have reportedly disappeared from Facebook’s global DNS tables, while the remaining two are entirely unreachable. It would not be at all surprising if this were the root of the outage — DNS problems are often wide-reaching and all-encompassing.
As the internet continued to search for answers today — amid almost complete silence from Facebook itself — some folks discovered that Facebook’s domain registration has been erased. In fact, it looks like it’s already been listed for sale. This could have been done unintentionally or with malicious intent; it’s unclear, from this third-party investigation, what sent Facebook’s domain into this spiral. It could’ve just been a systemwide update that went bad. Or it could’ve been a disgruntled employee.
The big interconnected messenger cloud — It’s notable that, until quite recently, connectivity issues at Facebook may not have infected so much of our internet communications systems. But Facebook continues to connect its apps with alarming frequency; even Oculus VR headsets are virtually unusable without a Facebook account, now. That interconnectedness gives Facebook boatloads of power — and it also means that one misplaced domino can topple the entire tower.
The timing of this... We would be remiss to not mention how very, erm, interesting the timing of this widespread outage is. Facebook is in the middle of an unusually intense public reckoning revolving around the privacy and safety of its entire suite of apps. The whistleblower that spurred that crisis leaked thousands of documents from Facebook’s internet employee network service. Which happens to be down right now, too. Very... interesting.
Whether the outage is rooted in DNS issues or something else entirely, it’s clearly a difficult one to remedy. Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have all been down for nearly two hours, at this point. And just like that: The world’s most popular platforms for communications and connection are rendered useless.
Updated 10.4.21, 2:55 pm, to include information about Facebook’s domain being erased.