If you had trouble accessing Facebook and its various other apps and platforms yesterday, you weren’t alone. The social media giant suffered what is likely its worst outage yet on Wednesday.
The outage started around 11 a.m. Eastern Time on March 13, affecting Facebook users across the globe. It impacted all of the company’s most popular and used apps: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
It also caused issues for users playing games on Oculus VR headsets and Facebook’s own staff using the in-house Workplace app.
For most users, the severity of the outage varied. Some reported that they couldn’t access Facebook’s services at all, while others experienced buggy behavior, missing features, or a general slow or lagging refresh.
And it didn’t impact everyone at the same time. Facebook attempted to fix the issue, but it wasn’t until around 9:30 a.m. this morning that the company finally announced that the outage was resolved.
Ironically enough, Facebook had to turn to one of its competitors — Twitter — to let its users know that its platform was up-and-running again.
As far as what caused the outage, the social media giant denies that it was the result of a malicious attack.
Instead, Facebook attributes the widespread problems to a “server configuration change.” That change apparently caused a “cascading series of issues,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
While the outage may just seem like a fairly frivolous issue, The Verge reports that it actually caused problems for businesses that advertise on Facebook’s various platforms and for influencers who make their living posting social content.
Facebook’s stock fell nearly 3 percent in early morning trading. As of the writing of this article, it’s down by around 1.8 percent.
More than anything else, the outage just illustrates what can happen when some of the world’s most popular social media and communication platforms are owned and operated by a single company.
Some people opposed to the concentration of platform ownership are already using the outage as an example of what can happen when too many services belong to a single entity.
“The more integrated a platform becomes, the greater the risk and reach of epic failures like this one,” Sarah Miller, deputy director of the Open Markets Institute, told CNN.