PHOENIX - As access to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are being restored to people around the world following an outage on Oct. 4, a cyber expert is weighing in on what happened.
According to company officials, the incident resulted in connection trouble, as well as the inability to load newsfeeds for many of its users around the world.
The company did not say what might be causing the outage, which began around 11:40 a.m. ET (8:40 a.m. Arizona time). Company officials have since apologized for the outage.
It is normal for websites and apps to suffer outages, though one on a global scale is rare. It also comes amid a major crisis at Facebook after a whistleblower exposed the company's alleged awareness of internal research into the negative effects of its products and decisions.
Cyberexperts weigh in on outage
Ken Colburn with Data Doctors said the outage appears to have been an infrastructure issue.
"It gets a little technical, but it has to do with what's called DNS servers, and this is basically the the traffic cops of the Internet, so when you type a web address, if you type in facebook.com, there's actually some infrastructure that converts that into the proper numbers, and then routes you to the website, so the information that allows you to get to Facebook right now just disappeared. It's been removed, and it's it sounds nefarious, but everything that we're seeing suggests that there was a misconfiguration," said Colburn.
The outage came as Arizona celebrated Cybersecurity Month. The Director of Arizona Department of Homeland Security also weighed in.
"Regardless if that's an internal configuration issue or not, and I'm sure that it is, but it highlights the vulnerability and dependency that we have on our daily lives on technology, and how fast that can be taken down," said Tim Roemer. "Could be an internal error, could be externa,l where sometimes a criminal comes after those applications, but what it highlights is how vulnerable we are."
Experts also say many people, including businesses and social media influences, lost money because of it.
Social Media Influencers feel impact
For at least some social influencers, the outage was a nice break.
"Even for this short span of time, it's really good for anyone, but especially for those who are dependent on social media," said Diana Brandt, known to many on Instagram as AZFoodie. "It's good for our mental health. We're constantly thinking about if we're getting enough views, likes, are they engaging the way they should, and it's exhausting."
While Facebook reportedly lost billions of dollars due to the outrage, some influencers also felt the negative impact.
"If it would have gone on longer -- because so many campaigns are time-sensitive. So the brand or the product or restaurant is trying to do something to get sales. Maybe it's a special for that day, and if they're not able to activate at a certain time this morning, it kills their sale to push people to go to their restaurant or to buy that product," said Brandt.
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