Experts share theories over Facebook and WhatsApp outage – sabotage or mistake

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Security experts have said that a 'catastrophic network failure' which left billions of users without access to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider 'could also be possible'.

The social networking giant has been forced to apologise in the last few hours for the biggest outage in its history, with billionaire boss Mark Zuckerberg saying that he is "sorry" to "the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us."

It is not believed to be the work of hackers, but is more likely to have started inside the company by accident with a dodgy update on their systems, tech boffins say.

Harvard professor John Zittrain said in a tweet that "Facebook basically locked its keys in the car", while blogger Mike Doughney went into more detail, saying the company had been "killing off its own network with a faulty update, to the point admins can't put everything back the way it was".

Meanwhile, John Graham-Cumming of American security firm Cloudflare told Wired Magazine said: "It appears that Facebook has done something to their routers, the ones that connect the Facebook network to the rest of the internet."

Were you affected by the global Facebook outage? Let us know in the comments below.

Security experts said the disruption could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

If a mistake it would be an incredibly costly one, as boss Mr Zuckerberg has reportedly lost almost $7 billion (£4,408,230,000) in the last 24 hours.

It has also been reported that the down-time lasted so long because the networks that went down were the same ones used by Facebook in-house to solve technical issues.

Some Twitter users had speculated earlier that the incident could have been a cyberattack, potentially made in response to a company insider's claims at the weekend that Facebook was prioritising profits over fighting hate speech on its platform.

One named Mike Sington said: "Facebook, as well as WhatsApp and Instagram owned by Facebook, are all down.

"Coincidence, after whistleblower levels major bombshells against Facebook or major hack taking them down?"

Facebook announced shortly after 3.10am that 'configuration changes' on backbone routers caused the issues, and reassured the community that no user data was compromised as a result.

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