Facebook and its entire suite of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, suffered an outage Monday completely preventing users from accessing the services.
The sites went down 9 a.m. on the West Coast, where the company has its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters, and did not start coming back online until around six hours later ― a stunningly long outage for one of the world’s biggest tech giants.
Facebook hasn’t said what caused the outage, but it’s unlikely it was related to a cybersecurity attack, two Facebook security team members told The New York Times, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Earlier, the company acknowledged the problem on Twitter and said it was working to get everything up and running soon. But after the outage persisted for several hours, Facebook issued an apology to “the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us.”
Though many people regained access around 4 p.m. West Coast time, Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, said it may take “some time” for all the sites to come fully back online for everyone.
“To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry,” he added.
The sites went down right as Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, was appearing live on CNBC to defend the company against a whistleblower’s accusations that it prioritizes profits over stopping hate speech and embraces algorithms that allow such rhetoric to thrive across its platforms. That whistleblower, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, is scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday in a hearing about protecting kids online.
The outage created chaos within the company, a source told an Associated Press reporter, as all internal systems reportedly went down, too.