NEW YORK: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for users across the globe, the social media giant said on Monday, as it worked on restoring the services after being hit by one of its longest outages.
The disruption, which hit Facebook's platforms minutes before noon, comes a day after a whistleblower accused the firm of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.
Shares of Facebook, which has nearly 2 billion daily active users, opened lower after the weekend's whistleblower report and slipped further to trade down 5.3% in afternoon trading on Monday. They were on track for their worst day in nearly a year, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday.
Facebook was inaccessible because users were not being directed to the correct place by the Domain Name System. Facebook itself controls the relevant settings.
DNS allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc took down multiple websites in July.
Security experts tracking the situation said the outage likely was triggered by a configuration error that left directions to Facebook servers unavailable. That could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.
An outside hack was viewed as less likely. A massive denial-of-service attack that could overwhelm one of the world's most popular sites, on the other hand, would require either coordination among powerful criminal groups or a very innovative technique.
Facebook acknowledged users were having trouble accessing its apps but did not provide any specifics about the nature of the problem or how many were affected by the outage.
"We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience," Facebook tweeted about 30 minutes after the first reports of the outage. Facebook's response was made much more difficult because employees lost access to some of their own tools in the shutdown, people tracking the matter said.