Facebook offered “sincere apologies” Monday afternoon as a sweeping outage of its site and various other properties, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, stretched for more than six hours and helped to wipe more than $50 billion off Facebook’s market cap — the stock’s worst day of trading in almost a year.
The issues started around 11:45 a.m. ET, according to DownDetector, and hit users globally, taking out critical communications platforms that billions of people and businesses rely on everyday. Service began to return at around 6 p.m.
While Facebook has yet to identify the root of the issue, cybersecurity experts said it does not appear to be a cyberattack and instead seems to be linked to internal issues with Facebook’s systems.
As Facebook scrambled to solve the issue, investors ditched the stock, sending almost 5 percent lower to $326.23 per share. It was the stock’s biggest one-day plummet since Nov. 9, 2020.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth took a more than $6 billion hit on Monday, sending him below Microsoft founder Bill Gates to No. 5 on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Zuckerberg is now worth about $121.6 billion, down from almost $140 billion just a couple weeks ago, according to Bloomberg.
The outage also disrupted internal Facebook systems, including security, a company calendar and scheduling tools, The Times reported, adding that some Facebook employees weren’t even able to enter buildings due to the outage.
In a curious twist, by early afternoon, the domain name “Facebook.com” was listed for sale by Domain Tools. The organization behind the domain registration was still listed as Facebook, Inc. and it’s unclear why the site’s address would be listed for sale.
Other popular sites — including Gmail and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn –also began to experience some issues throughout the day, according to DownDetector.
Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality gaming platform, was having issues, too.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Oculus tweeted.
As social media fanatics flocked to Twitter, the Facebook rival joked, “hello literally everyone,” in a tweet that racked up nearly half a million retweets.
But Twitter itself saw some outages Monday afternoon, according to DownDetector, with several thousand people reporting issues on the site.
The outage comes a day after a Facebook whistleblower who leaked a trove of damning internal documents to the Wall Street Journal came forward and identified herself as Frances Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook.