The Facebook outage continued for hours, affecting users in North America, Europe and other regions Photo: AFP/File
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By Glenn CHAPMAN

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Facebook grappled with challenges on two fronts Wednesday, an hours-long outage and intensified scrutiny from investigators reportedly probing data deals struck by the world's largest social network.

As the outage continued, gripes flooded rival Twitter as well as a comments section on downdetector.com, which tracks trouble accessing online pages.

"I have never seen Facebook down this long," one user lamented. "And many other sites and apps are having issues too."

A Downdetector map late Wednesday showed Facebook service troubles persisting in parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America.

"11 hours and still global wide outage continues," read another comment.

"This is very bad. Seriously this is not something funny or worth the amusement to even troll about."

Some media outlets branded the outage as the biggest in Facebook's history. The outage, of unknown origin, also affected Facebook-owned Instagram, as well as Messenger. In some cases the apps could be accessed but would not load posts or handle missives.

The California firm which has more than two billion users acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality.

"We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible," a Facebook statement said on Twitter.

A short time later, Facebook indicated the outage was not related to an attack aimed at overwhelming the network.

"We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack," Facebook said.

Distributed denial of service cyber strikes involve hackers overwhelming websites with tidal waves of simultaneous requests, typically using armies or computers infected with malicious code.

The social network said there was no update of the situation as evening arrived in California.

Last November, a Facebook outage was attributed to a server problem, and a September disruption was said to be the result of "networking issues."

While the outage continued, The New York Times reported that U.S. prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the social network's practice of sharing users' data with companies without letting its members know.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from at least two major smartphone makers about such arrangements with Facebook, according to the Times.

Regulators, investigators and elected officials in the US and elsewhere in the world have already been digging into the data sharing practices of Facebook, which has more than two billion users.

The social network's handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy which did work for Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, used an app that may have hijacked the private details of 87 million users.

"It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice," a Facebook spokesman said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"As we've said before, we are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously. We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so."

Facebook has shared limited amounts of user data with smartphone makers and other outside partners to enable its services to work well on devices or with applications. Regulators, and now prosecutors, appear intent on determining whether this was done in ways that let users know what was happening and protected privacy.

The social network has announced a series of moves to tighten handling of data, including eliminating most of its data-sharing partnerships with outside companies.

The focus of the grand jury probe was not clear, nor was when it started, according to the Times, which cited unnamed sources.

? 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


13 Comments
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I tired to post a status update on Facebook to let my friends know that Facebook is down.?:)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

OMG! Facebook down! The sky is falling down!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'll just say that outside of the middle-aged folks here in Japan, the younger generation probably never even noticed nor cared! FB is not as popular here as it once was and has been passed by Instagram and Twitter!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Somewhere in the next 5-10 years, Facebook will be replaced by something else.

It was innovative, but it is most certainly no longer cool and fresh. FB is the tool of the older people these days, not younger people and in 5~10 years, the impact of that change will be clear.

I have a FB account. I use it to message people that I rarely talk to. That's it. No posts on it, that's for sure.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

AgentXToday 01:18 pm JST

OMG! Facebook down! The sky is falling down!!!

What the hell is wrong with you ! This is not something to joke or troll about !!!!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

OMG! Facebook down! The sky is falling down!!!

It's fine. If it went for ever, I'd find it annoying as it's useful to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world and also the occasional work-related chats.

U.S. prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the social network's practice of sharing users' data with companies without letting its members know.

Now, that's the meat of the story.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"This is very bad. Seriously this is not something funny or worth the amusement to even troll about."

Oh, relax. I couldn't log in or see posts which was a hassle at first but after I waited about an hour and everything was fine.

Once I found out it was FB and not my computer's fault I felt even more at ease.

No big deal. People need to chill a bit more about these things. Geez, social media is here for us to enjoy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think Japan had it relatively easy since it happened during midnight while everyone was asleep.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zones2surf

Somewhere in the next 5-10 years, Facebook will be replaced by something else.

Any many places, it already has been. Especially with teens.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What the hell is wrong with you ! This is not something to joke or troll about !!!!

No joke man! Facebook down is like DEFCON 5!

How are people gonna flex without social media?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I remember how Microsoft was so hated in the late 90's and early 00's. Facebook is the new Microsoft. On the other hand, for me Facebook is a totally voluntary platform, while Google has become essential for searching, maps, emails, etc. I think the real focus should be on Google.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And where is the article about gmail being down for 3 or 4 hours the other day?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's fine. If it went for ever, I'd find it annoying as it's useful to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world and also the occasional work-related chats.

Can't do that with email?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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