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Facebook Apologizes for Outages, Says It Has Resolved ‘Server Configuration’ Error That Led to Access Problems

Facebook is “very sorry” for what appeared to be the longest-ever rolling outage of its service: The social media giant apologized for a technical error that left many users globally unable to access apps for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp starting Wednesday and stretching into Thursday. The company said it has fixed the glitch.

About 24 hours after users began reporting problems with Facebook, Instagram and other apps, Facebook announced Thursday — on Twitter — that it had resolved the issues and that its systems are “recovering.”

“Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering,” the company said in a tweet. “We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.”

A Facebook rep said Thursday at around 2 p.m. ET that the server configuration change triggered “a cascading series of issues” and that its systems “have been recovering over the last few hours.”

Facebook first acknowledged the problems in a tweet Wednesday at 1:49 p.m. ET, then said in a follow-up message that it was able to confirm the outages were not caused by distributed denial-of-service attack, in which networks are overloaded with bogus traffic designed to disrupt service.

Problems reported by users included the Facebook and Instagram apps’ not loading content or allowing them to share posts, while some said they were unable to log in. Some were shown a message saying Facebook was down for maintenance.

Facebook is considering issuing refunds to advertisers because of the downtime, Bloomberg reported. Outages for large internet platforms like Facebook or YouTube aren’t unusual, but in the past they have typically restored service within an hour or two.

Instagram, at around 12:40 a.m. ET Thursday, announced on Twitter (with an Oprah GIF) that service was restored. According to performance-monitoring company Catchpoint, Facebook apps appeared to running normally by around 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday for users in the U.S. However, users in Asia and Europe reported that they were experiencing issues again early their time on Thursday.

The outages occurred as Facebook faces ongoing potential legal and regulatory repercussions after a series of damaging disclosures in the past year involving significant user-privacy breaches and revelations about the company’s questionable business practices.

In the latest development, U.S. prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into Facebook’s data partnerships, and a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from “at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices,” the New York Times reported Wednesday. In a response, Facebook reiterated that it is cooperating with investigators.

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