Facebook’s Website Returns to Operation After Disruption

Jun 19, 2014 4:26 pm ET

(Updates with closing share price in ninth paragraph.)

June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s website returned to service after disruptions that blocked access to the world’s largest social-networking site for about half an hour.

“Late last night, we ran into an issue while updating the configuration of one of our software systems,” Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said today in an e-mailed statement. “We quickly spotted and fixed the problem, and in less than 30 minutes Facebook was back to 100 percent for everyone.”

The failure drove thousands instantly to complain about the loss of Facebook access on other services such as Twitter Inc. The hashtag #facebookdown on Twitter’s microblogging site has been used more than 74,000 times in the past day, according to Apple Inc.’s Topsy Labs, a social-media tracker. Facebook, with more than 1 billion users across the planet, has been working on hardware and software changes to help it reduce server downtime and deal with greater traffic loads.

Early today, visitors to Facebook saw an error message that said: “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.” Among cities where access was compromised were Tokyo, Taipei, New Delhi, Moscow, Johannesburg, Paris, Amsterdam and London as of 9:03 a.m. London time.

Facebook’s mobile application also appeared affected, with status updates and messages not loading during the disruption. The website was back online by about 9:30 a.m. London time.

The site also experienced a failure in April, and in 2010, its servers went down for 2.5 hours because an automated program meant to fix certain code values overwhelmed a database with traffic.

No Crashes

The site had 1.28 billion monthly active users and 1.01 billion monthly mobile active users in March, making it one of the world’s most-accessed Internet services.

Facebook said in April that first-quarter revenue rose 72 percent to $2.5 billion, beating analysts’ estimates, on soaring mobile-advertising revenue.

Shares of the company declined 1.9 percent to $64.34 at the close in New York. They have gained 18 percent this year. Facebook sold shares in an initial public offering at $38 apiece in May 2012.

Facebook’s dependency on working servers was alluded to in the 2010 movie “The Social Network.”

“Let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everyone else, we don’t crash ever,” said the character portraying co-founder Mark Zuckerberg -- played by Jesse Eisenberg -- according to the website imdb.com. “If those servers are down for even a day, our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed! Users are fickle.”

--With assistance from Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg, Marie Mawad in Paris, Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow, Elco van Groningen in Amsterdam, Mark Beech in London, Colin Keatinge in Singapore and Brian Womack in San Francisco.