'Hack' or 'gone forever'? Conspiracy theories explode over Facebook outage
Facebook (AFP)

On Monday, Vice reported that the prolonged outage of Facebook — itself famous as a vector for conspiracy theories and disinformation — is triggering a fresh wave of conspiracy theories.

According to experts, the outage is likely a result of failures with the company's internet infrastructure. But some have proposed a number of more sinister explanations.

"In this information vacuum ... conspiracy theorists have begun speculating that this is a massive hack, that it's tied to Sunday night's '60 Minutes' episode in which a Facebook whistleblower said that Facebook is intentionally misleading the public and the government on its efforts to curb hate speech and misinformation, or is otherwise related to Facebook's recent problems in the news," reported Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai. "A music studio recording business posted a screenshot of what look to be a bunch of DNS addresses on Twitter and speculated that Facebook is gone forever, which quickly went viral with literally no context whatsoever. The screenshot appears to be stolen from another Twitter account called KillFearNY, which describes itself as a creative and sports agency."

That post suggests that Facebook is "gone forever."

Another conspiracy theory, noted the report, is that this is all part of a hack and everyone's data has been stolen.

"In this version, people are pointing to a September 22 post from a supposed company called X2Emails which has 'more than 1.5b Database of Facebook these database scraped this year and 100% emails are included and phone as well' and is somehow connected to today's outage," writes Vice.

However, "scraping" information isn't the same as "hacking" it, so this assertion doesn't even support the theory.

It is unclear when Facebook will come online again.