The problem has been put down to a “faulty configuration change” which was said to have occured around 5pm GMT.
In a statement, the social media giant explained: “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.
“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.
Full service across all the apps and websites was restored around 11pm GMT but in the meantime, theories as to what had actually happened began to run wild, with many people buying into the seemingly baseless conspiracies.
A satire account on Twitter spread a rumour that the outage was caused by a Chinese hacking group, the name of which should have alerted people to the fact that this wasn’t serious at all.
BREAKING: Facebook has revealed that the recent outage of its apps and services was caused by a Chinese state-spons… https://t.co/K9z55vWXbB
One theory that was shared by several big Twitter accounts and really caught steam was that somehow a Facebook employee had accidentally deleted the website’s master code meaning that Facebook and Instagram could be “gone forever”.
Facebook’s Master Code Reportedly Deleted Which Means Facebook And Instagram Would Be Gone Forever… https://t.co/ukoneBetW1
This clearly didn’t happen and it also had nothing to do with the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former product manager of Facebook’s civic misinformation team, who recently leaked thousands of potentially damaging documents to The Wall Street Journal.
However, her name was still bandied around by some who found the timing of the outage suspicious, as it happened less than 24 hours after she had spoken to 60 Minutes on CBS.
I find it incredibly suspicious that Facebook shut down after it just got exposed by a former employee turned whist… https://t.co/AT3C3JqJ3Z
Another theory that was quickly debunked was that Facebook’s data had been circulated on a hacking forum. However, it was noted that the data had been online for around two weeks already and was reportedly part of a scam.
This tweet is based on a two-week-old thread on RaidForums. In that same thread, someone recently posted that they… https://t.co/QbR8uhWNBk
Of course, the most bizarre theory had to come from followers of the QAnon conspiracy who believed that crash was part of the ‘10 Days of Darkness’ belief which would somehow coincide with Donald Trump being reinstated as president.
QAnons praying Facebook’s blackout is the “10 days of darkness” vaguely predicted back in 2017.
For the record, Q… https://t.co/PdRM1DPpVl