October 2021 Facebook and Instagram Outage

October 2021 Facebook and Instagram Outage

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Updated Oct 05, 2021 at 12:58PM EDT by Keira.

Added Oct 04, 2021 at 04:26PM EDT by Philipp.

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About

October 2021 Facebook and Instagram Outage refers to a six-hour-long outage that affected social media services owned by Facebook, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, with other social media reporting issues due to an influx of users. The outage became a subject of memes on social media.

Background

On October 4th, 2021, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram and messenger WhatsApp, all owned by Facebook, went down for a period of six hours. The outage began simultaneously on all three platforms at approximately 11:45 AM EST.

The outage was initially assumed to be a result of a DDoS attack, which was later disproven. On October 4th, 2021, several social media users and journalists reported[1][2] that the outage was likely a result of Facebook's DNS records being withdrawn from the global routing tables during a BGP update that took place that morning (tweets shown below).


Mikael Thalen ... @MikaelThalen Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger are down due to a BPG configuration error, not a DD0S attack. The global maps you see that purport to show live attacks are largely useless and shouldn't be relied upon to diagnose connectivity issues online. 专7讚拽 facebook Facebook is down, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus VR It's always DNS. S theverge.com 1:37 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App briankrebs @briankrebs Confirmed: The DNS records that tell systems how to find Facebook.com or Instagram.com got withdrawn this morning from the global routing tables. Can you imagine working at FB right now, when your email no longer works & all your internal FB-based tools fail? 1:25 PM - Oct 4, 2021 - Twitter Web App

Developments

Facebook Reaction

Approximately 30 minutes after the start of the outage, Facebook acknowledged the problem in a tweet,[3] apologizing for the inconvenience (tweet shown below, left).

Later Facebook's CTO Mike Schroepfer posted a tweet[4] about the outage, reporting networking issues preventing quick resolution of the situation (tweet shown below, right).


Facebook ... FB @Facebook We're aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience. 12:22 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App Mike Schroepfer @schrep *Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible 3:52 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App

Reports of Data Breach and Internal Access Issues

During the outage, New York Times writer Sheera Frenkel tweeted[5] that according to a Facebook source, company employees were unable to enter the buildings this morning due to their security badges not working (tweet shown below).


Sheera Frenkel @sheeraf Was just on phone with someone who works for FB who described employees unable to enter buildings this morning to begin to evaluate extent of outage because their badges weren't working to 邪褋cess doors. 2:51 PM - Oct 4, 2021 - Twitter for iPhone

On October 3rd, 12 hours prior to the start of the outage, cybersecurity news website Privacy Affairs[6] reported that private and personal information of over 1.5 billion Facebook users was being sold on a hacker forum. The website later reported that some users of the forum claimed being scammed by the alleged seller. Additionally, the website updated the article to highlight that the alleged leak was not related to the outage (shown below). However, due to the timing of the article, incorrect information that the leak took place during the outage received spread.[7]


Important Clarification: This is completely unrelated to the global Facebook outage experienced on 4 October 2021. The timing of this news post and the Facebook outage constitutes an unfortunate coincidence leading to many incorrectly assuming a connection between the two. Several websites and Twitter accounts incorrectly attribute the 4 October Facebook outage to this alleged data leak. Our initial article was published 12 hours before the Facebook outage happened.

Outage Reports By Other Social Media And ISPs

On October 4th, 2021, during the outage, users on other social media platforms including Twitter, TikTok and Telegram reported technical issues (shown below, left).[8][9] Messenger app Telegram reported[10] that the the slowdown in its work was likely tied to an influx of WhatsApp users. Twitter did not acknowledge technical issues but reported[11] an increased amount of active users.

Also on that day, US-based Internet service and network providers Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T reported outages (tweet shown below, right).[12]


AREAKINA Breaking911 OT @Breaking911 ... DEVELOPING: Verizon, T-Mobile & AT&T Customers Report Outages After Facebook, Instagram Go Down - breaking911.com/developing-ver. Instagram Facebook Instagram Whatsapp T- -Mobile verizon Facebook Messenger T-Mobile Verizon at&t AT&T Telegram Twitter 2:11 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App shoe @shoeOnhead twitter repliess arent loading now its happening gentlemen, it's been a pleasure shitposting with you 3:34 PM - Oct 4, 2021 - Twitter for iPhone

End of the Outage

At approximately 6 pm EST, six hours after the start of the outage, the functionality of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp was restored.[15]


Facebook ... FB @Facebook To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we're sorry. We've been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us. 6:33 PM - Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App

Online Reactions

The massive outage was met with an influx of memes on social media, with reactions varying from users cheering on unaffected social media to posts predicting the total downfall of the internet. For example, on October 4th, 2021, gimmick Twitter account @HumansNoContext posted[13] a Grant Gustin Next To Oliver Queen's Grave that received over 7,800 retweets and 45,900 likes in four hours (shown below, left). Twitter[14] user @GavinDYoung posted a joke about Oculus headset users being trapped in virtual reality which gained over 31,500 retweets and 146,700 likes in five hours (shown below, right).


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Other social media, including Twitter and Reddit, reacted to the massive outage. For example, two hours after the start of the outage, Twitter's official Twitter[11] account tweeted "hello literally everyone," with the tweet gaining over 485,000 retweets and 2,5 million likes in four hours.

Various Examples


David Leavitt @David_Leavitt Instagram and Facebook users who don't use Twitter: 1:23 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 from Providence, RI - Twitter for iPhone veno y ... @venOph zuckerberg right now 4:09 PM - Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter for iPhone
Joe Groff @jckarter woah that was quick HALLOWEEN 1 Hacker Way facebook 2:14 PM 路 Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter Web App The Academy @BenjaminEnfield THE ACADEMY So, someone deleted large sections of the routing...that doesn't mean Facebook is just down, from the looks of it....that means Facebook is GONE. 5 12.122.28.125 (12.122.28.125) 25.648 ms 6 12.123.14.53 (12.123.14.53) 17.915 ms 16.729 ms 17.870 ms 7 12.245.168.22 (12.245.168.22) 12.245.168.38 (12.245. 168.38) 26.476 ms 8 31.13.28.152 (31.13.28.152) 31.13.28.182 (31.13.28.182) 17.518 ms 9 129.134.47.44 (129.134.47.44) 16.806 ms 129.134.103.44 (129.134.103.44) 16.334 ms 26.774 ms 10 129.134.47.33 (129.134.47.33) 129.134.47.41 (129.134.47.41) 11 129.134.49.51 (129.134.49.51) 129.134.49.30 (129.134.49.30) 129.134.49.51 (129.134.49.51) 17.235 ms 25.965 ms 17.037 ms 17.323 ms 16.610 ms 24.530 ms 111.293 ms 110.571 ms 25.649 ms 42.822 ms 33.442 ms 33.918 ms 127.411 ms 119.243 ms 119.003 ms 12 129.134.40.4 (129.134.40.4) 129.134.40.14 (129.134.40.14) 129.134.40.10 (129.134.40.10) 13 157.240.61.35 (157.240.61.35) 119.922 ms 157.240.42.101 (157.240.42.101) 128.720 ms 157.240.42.103 (157.240.42.103) 119.300 ms 128.020 ms 122.221 ms 14 74.119.76.194 (74.119.76.194) 74.119.78.154 (74.119.78.154) 129.134.52.68 (129.134.52.68) 15 129.134.54.133 (129.134.54.133) 145.065 ms 155.284 ms 129.134.54.131 (129.134.54.131) 167.926 ms 129.134.54.139 (129.134.54.139) 153.878 ms 16 129.134.106.193 (129.134.106.193) 153.220 ms 129.134.106.183 (129.134.106.183) 152.464 ms 129.134.96.147 (129.134.96.147) 153.885 ms 17 129.134.44.229 (129.134.44.229) 154.756 ms 129.134.106.203 (129.134.106.203) 143.756 ms 129.134.106.199 (129.134.106.199) 153.000 ms 18 157.240.38.139 (157.240.38.139) 144.654 ms 157.240.38.191 (157.240.38.191) 155.739 ms 157.240.38.117 (157.240.38.117) 148.174 ms 19 * 157.240.224.35 (157.240.224.35) 148.122 ms 146.761 ms 3:11 PM - Oct 4, 2021 路 Twitter for iPhone

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