Life without Facebook? Social network outage triggers moans and soul searching

Facebook grappled on Thursday with a widespread outage , forcing millions of people to taste life without the world ’ s largest social media platform.It was probably the last thing Facebook needed as it stumbles from problem to problem, including outrage over its use of customers’ private data .

The outage began Wednesday afternoon and triggered a flood of gripes on downdetector . com , which tracks trouble accessing online pages , and on rival Twitter .

A Downdetector map late Wednesday showed Facebook service troubles persisting in parts of Australia , Asia , Europe , South America and North America .
As of early Thursday the problem remained in parts of Europe and Asia , although moaning from America and else where kept coming.

“ You guys should look in the mirror at yourselves and hear how you sound , ” a person with the handle Johanna wrote on Downdetector around 0745 GMT .

“ You make it sound as if it ’ s the end of the world just because you can ’ t be on Facebook. Lmfao . Get a real life instead of a digital one !?!?!?”

Another whose handle is Palmina D ’ Allesandro mused that time without Mark Zuckerberg ’ s baby might have been good for making the real , humankind .

“ Up and running here … for now … But I predict a baby boom in 9 months, Remember that day FB went down and people were forced to notice each other?”, this person wrote .

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 , although Instagram later said it was back up.

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

– ‘ Not a DDoS attack ’ –

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 of 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 . ”

– A grand jury subpoena –

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

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.

( AFP)

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