Facebook blames engineers for 'major' outage

Facebook says that the outage which saw its website unavailable to millions earlier this morning was down to an internal issue caused by its engineers.

Facebook, Instagram, Tinder (the dating service which relies on Facebook for user log-ins), AIM and Hipchat were down for approximately 40 minutes in the early hours of Tuesday and some leapt to the conclusion that the Lizard Squad – the group responsible for the Christmas DDoS attacks against Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, as well as the Malaysia Airlines DNS compromise on Monday – may have orchestrated the attack. This was seemingly because the group had tweeted about the incident on Twitter.

“Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, AIM, Hipchat #offline #LizardSquad,” read the groups' post.

However, Facebook was quick to deny such suggestions, and instead said that the issue was caused by engineers making changes to the network's configurations systems. The social network – which had some 1.25 billion monthly and 864 million daily active users at the end of September - has been making subtle changes of late, including minor edits like a ratings systems for translations and a prompts page for administrators to create ads.

“Facebook and Instagram experienced a major outage tonight from 22.10 until 23.10 PST (06:10 to 07:10 GMT) Our engineers identified the cause of the outage and recovered the site quickly. You should now see decreasing error rates while our systems stabilise. We don't expect any other break in service. I'll post another update within 30 mins. Thank you for your patience”, wrote Andrew Pope, production engineering manager at Facebook.

In a later statement to the BBC, the social network added: “"This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems.

"We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100 percent for everyone."