After a whistleblower came forward and outages brought Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp down, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune dropped by more than $6 billion in a matter of hours, pushing him down on the list of the world’s wealthiest people.
The platforms went down just before noon ET, with server problems on the websites and applications for Facebook’s services. The outages looked to be widespread, according to reports on DownDetector.com, although it was unclear exactly how many people were unable to use the applications. Facebook could not disclose what caused the outage.
While most of Facebook’s personnel are still working remotely, employees at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters reported having difficulties entering buildings since their security credentials were rendered worthless by the outage.
However, for many of Facebook’s roughly 3 billion users, the impact was considerably greater, demonstrating how much the world has grown to rely on it and its assets – to operate companies, engage with online communities and log on too many other websites.
The outage was caused by DNS failure, according to ThousandEyes, a network monitoring service owned by Cisco. DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it functions similarly to a phone book for websites. The outage was the longest for Facebook since a glitch knocked the service offline for almost a day in 2008, affecting about 80 million users.
The disaster comes only one day after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen identified herself ahead of an interview with “60 Minutes” after leaking secret internal information. The leaked documents indicated that Facebook’s management was aware of Instagram’s detrimental effects on younger users and that the company’s algorithm facilitated the spread of disinformation.
Shares of Facebook plunged nearly 5% amid the outage.
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