Texarkana, TX 85° Mon H 85° L 71° Tue H 81° L 70° Wed H 87° L 73° Weather Sponsored By:

Facebook says outages due to 'server configuration change'

Facebook says outages due to 'server configuration change'

March 15th, 2019 by Associated Press in National News

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are are displayed on an iPhone on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in New York. Facebook says it is aware of outages on its platforms including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram and is working to resolve the issue. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

NEW YORK—Facebook went down for almost a full day across parts of North America and Europe, but it's still not saying exactly what happened.

All the social network said Thursday was that the outages, which affected users and advertisers worldwide, resulted from a "server configuration change." It offered no further details.

Facebook and its apps—Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp—started experiencing problems midday Wednesday on the U.S. East Coast. Facebook was still having sporadic issues Thursday morning.

Facebook did not say how many users were affected or why the outage took so long to fix. In a tweet about 24 hours after the problems began, Facebook apologized and thanked people for their patience. It didn't elaborate on the server change.

The outage is yet another publicity problem for a company already dealing with privacy issues and regulatory probes.

The disruption isn't likely to hurt advertisers much, since they usually pay for ads per click or impression. But they lose potential customers who might have seen their ads when the site and apps were down.

Longer term, Facebook's reputation with advertisers and investors could be damaged, said Wedbush Securities managing director Dan Ives.

It didn't help that it took Facebook so long to explain what was going on, he said.

Facebook said on Wednesday that the problem was not related to a "distributed denial of service" or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site, but didn't provide any other details until Thursday.

"In these situations a lack of transparency is not a good look," Ives said. "The longer something like this lasts, the more questions there are."

The disruption seemed spotty, with some apps and parts of the apps working for some but not others. While some less active users may not have noticed that Facebook services were down, other frequent users and advertisers keenly felt its absence.

The Drummers Garden Center & Floral, a plant store in Mankato, Minnesota, was unable to hold a live video Q&A on Facebook that it had planned for weeks. Customers and employees were both confused.

"I hope our customers aren't upset that we couldn't communicate with them. We're not used to it being down," said Jackie Karsten, the marketing coordinator for the store. She said two people called the store to ask if they were doing something wrong on their end. The Q&A has been rescheduled for Monday — which the store announced in a post to its Facebook page.

Many users had a ready outlet for their frustrations: Twitter. Social media power user U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, lamented the lack of Instagram Wednesday evening on Twitter. "Is Instagram still down? Bc after 2 months almost furnitureless in DC I am trying to take you all on the riveting adventure of getting: a chair," she tweeted with a smiley face emoji.

Users have learned to take social media breakdowns in stride, said Tim Bajarin, president of consultancy Creative Strategies.

"People have dealt with these types of outages for some time now," he said. "While they are annoying, it has happened enough that a lot of people are now conditioned to roll with the punches."

Steve Jones, a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the fallout might have been far different if the outage took place ahead of or during a major news event, like an election.

"If today were the day before the next presidential election, how would we hold Facebook accountable for an outage with regard to an electoral outcome?" he asked. "We're not going to redo an election."

AP Technology Writer Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this report.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com