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Facebook blames server problem for massive outage

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Facebook blamed a “server configuration change” Thursday for a massive outage affecting its applications around the world and brought fresh attention to the embattled social networking leader.

The outage affected users for some 12 hours in most areas of the world, with the biggest impact in North America and Europe, according to the tracking website downdetector.com.

After acknowledging the problem Wednesday, Facebook remained mum on the issue for nearly 24 hours before issuing an explanation and apology around 1630 GMT Thursday.

“Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services,” a Facebook tweet said.

“We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.”

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the outage was believed to be the worst ever for the internet giant that reaches an estimated 2.7 billion people with its core social network, Instagram and messaging applications.

On Wednesday, Facebook said the situation did not appear to be the result of a denial-of-service attack. The hashtag #FacebookDown was a popular theme on Twitter.

In some cases, the apps could be accessed but would not load posts or handle messages.

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

Bloomberg News reported that Facebook was considering refunds for advertisers whose messages could not be delivered. Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

– Investigations abound –

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AFP/File / Manan VATSYAYANA Instagram and other Facebook applications were affected by an outage which lasted some 12 hours

While the outage continued, The New York Times reported that US prosecutors had launched a criminal investigation into the social network’s practice of sharing users’ data with companies without letting them know.

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

The news comes with regulators, investigators and elected officials in the US and elsewhere in the world digging into the data sharing practices of Facebook.

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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.

Facebook suggested there was nothing new in the New York Times report.

“It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice,” a Facebook spokesman told AFP.

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“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 maintained that it 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.

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Over the past year, 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.


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New Orleans funk icon and co-founder of the Neville Brothers Art Neville dies at 81

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Art Neville, a New Orleans funk legend and co-founder of the Neville Brothers, has died, his brother said Monday. He was 81 years old.

The singer and keyboard player who answered to the sobriquet "Poppa Funk" was well known as the voice of the "Mardi Gras Mambo," which quickly became a mainstay of his home city's famed carnival after he first played it at age 17.

"Artie Poppa Funk Neville you are loved dearly by every one who knew you. Love always your lil' big brother AARON (we ask for privacy during this time of mourning)," his brother, soul singer Aaron Neville, tweeted.

His death follows that of another famed New Orleans musician, the blues pianist Dr. John, who died last month.

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Native Hawaiians continue protest a week after telescope construction was set to start on sacred lan

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Indigenous protectors of Mauna Kea oppose the $1.4 billion project

A week after construction was scheduled to resume on a long-delayed $1.4 billion telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea—a dormant volcano on Hawaii's Big Island—thousands of Native Hawaiians who consider the mountain sacred continued to protest the planned observatory.

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Gun ownership increases homicides — but only a very specific kind of them: study

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Does the frequency of gun ownership impact the homicide rate? In the broad sense, many studies have shown it does. But how does it do so exactly?

A new study, conducted at the University of Indianapolis and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, offers a profound hint. The study, which examined homicide rates by state from 1990 to 2016, suggests that most forms of homicide — those committed against friends, acquaintances, and strangers — are negligibly affected by firearm ownership rates. But one particular category of homicide is sharply correlated with the presence of guns: domestic violence.

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