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Facebook blames server configuration for longest-ever outage

Facebook suffers partial outage in U.S.
  • Facebook suffered a huge outage starting on Wednesday that affected users worldwide.
  • The social network said on Thursday that changes to a server configuration were to blame.
  • Users flocked to Twitter to let the company know what they thought about the outage.

Facebook blamed a "server configuration change" Thursday for the platform's longest-ever outage, which also affected Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp users worldwide.

"Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services," the company said in a tweet. "We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience."

The outages started around midday Wednesday, hitting users for more than 24 hours and surpassing the tech giant's last comparable outage in 2008. Facebook's desktop platforms and apps were affected in parts of the U.S., including the East and West Coast, as well as parts of Europe and elsewhere.

Facebook took to its Twitter account Wednesday to assure users that the outage wasn't due to a "distributed denial of service" attack, or DDoS, meaning the disturbance wasn't the result of hacker attacks.

That didn't stop anxious Facebook and Instagram users from taking to their Twitter accounts to air their frustrations or quip witticisms:

"Have you tried turning it off and back on again?" replied one user after Facebook tweeted an update.

"Instagram is down, so I have no choice but to post this picture of Watson on a grassy hillside here instead," wrote another user, posting a picture of a pet dog.

While Facebook said it has "resolved its issues," the update was sparse on details. Dan Patterson, senior producer at CNET, told CBSN that cybersecurity experts were unable to shed light on the issue.

"We really don't know anything, and at this time, that's fascinating in and of itself," Patterson said.

Facebook declined to add to the company statement on Twitter.

Feds probe Facebook's data deals

The outage came the same day that The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into Facebook's data deals with 150 companies, including Sony, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon. The federal investigation is the latest bad news coming from the company's data privacy scandals.

The newspaper said the companies had access to user data that Facebook previously said was inaccessible. Amazon was reportedly allowed to see user contact information. And Spotify and Netflix reportedly were allowed to see user private message information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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