Facebook outage widespread and persistent

Thomas Trutschel

According to the website downdetector.com, outages were heaviest in North America and Europe, but some users appeared to be affected in other regions. "We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible", it said. "We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible", said Facebook at 1:49 p.m. ET (1749 GMT).

Facebook posted to Twitter reassuring users that the site would be back online.

Thousands have taken to Twitter to report the outage.

Social network users in the East and West coasts of the U.S. and Europe were most affected by the outage, which has lasted at least eight hours.

The outage is occurring against a political backdrop of legislators in the United States and beyond considering whether large technology firms - not just Facebook - should be broken up.

Third-party outage tracker Down Detector said the worst hotspots were in California and NY in the USA, and in the UK.

A DDoS attack is a distributed denial-of-service disruption that attempts to interrupt the normal stream of traffic using a network. Many people went on Twitter to vent their frustration.

Lots of people rely on sites like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, or Gmail, to send messages or stay up to date with what's happening, so it can be pretty stressful when they stop working.

It was speculated earlier by network management biz Netscout that a BGP leak caused today outages, a claim made by its PR team and now withdrawn as there was no evidence to actually support it. Facebook said it was still investigating the overall impact, "including the possibility of refunds for advertisers".

Outages reportedly began around noon Eastern time on Wednesday afternoon. "The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behaviour".

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