Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all started experiencing mass outages Monday according to user reports and statements from the three Facebook-owned services.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook wrote on Twitter. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
Tens of thousands of outage reports were documented on Down Detector, a site that tracks service interruptions. The sites did not immediately provide a reason for the disruptions.
Facebook employees couldn’t access building, communications platform amid outages
As widespread outages plagued Facebook and some of its apps Monday, the company’s employees couldn’t access their internal communications platform or even enter buildings.
Sheera Frenkel, a technology reporter for the New York Times, tweeted Monday afternoon that she had spoken with a Facebook employee on the phone. The worker told her that the employee badges that allow them to enter the company’s buildings weren’t working, preventing them from even being able to examine the extent of the disruption. It was not clear if the issue has since been fixed.
Facebook’s internal communications platform, Workplace, was also down Monday, the Times reported. As most of the company’s workers were left unable to do their jobs, two described Monday as a “snow day.”
Outages may be caused by DNS issue
The mass outages that began plaguing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp Monday morning may have been caused withdrawn Domain Name System routes, according to Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for Kentik Inc.
DNS routes help direct internet traffic to sites by translating an address like facebook.com into an IP address. Madory said that if Facebook’s DNS records vanished, users would not be able to find the site.
A similar issue plagued the widely-used communication platform Slack last week. After getting outage reports from users, the company confirmed on Twitter Thursday that the disturbances were DNS-related.
Facebook domain temporarily listed as for sale
The Facebook domain, facebook.com, was briefly listed as for sale on the online retail and web name registrar, Uniregistry.
Brian Krebs, an independent journalist and former reporter for the Washington Post, posted a screenshot of the listing on his Twitter page.
As of 2:45 p.m. ET, the domain was no longer available, but other variations of the site’s name were still listed for sale.
Internet watchdog estimates more than $160 million in losses due to outages
Just one hour of worldwide Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outages could result in more than $160 million in global losses, according to internet watchdog organization NetBlocks.
NetBlocks used its Cost of Shutdown Tool, which it says uses indicators from the World Bank, ITU, Eurostat and U.S. Census, to deliver the estimate.
The outages skyrocketed shortly before and after 12 p.m. ET, when Down Detector compiled nearly 124,000 reports of Facebook disruptions and Instagram peaked at more than 97,000.